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BEADLE'S n° 5o. 




EO.ROUTLEDGE & SONS, THE BRdfiTDWTlUDGATE. 



THE 



HUNTER'S ESCAPE: 



% Ml 4 i\a Jforfh-wst in 1862* 



By EDWARD S. ELLIS, 

AUTHOR OF "SETH JOKES," "BILL BIDDON, TRAPPER," ETC. 




LONDON: 
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS, 

THE BROADWAY, LUDGATE. 



THE 

HUNTER'S ESCAPE. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE MISSIONARY. 

Arid when the solemn Sabbath came, 

We gathered in the wood, 
And lifted up our hearts in prayer 

To God, the only good. 
Onr temples then were earth and sky, 

None others did we know, 
In the days when we were pioneers. 

Fifty years ago 1— W. D. Gallaoher. 

Awat up in the north-western portion of Minnesota, the 
forest-arches were echoing with unwonted sound. On thia 
still Sabbath morning in the early autumn of 1862, the voice 
of thanksgiving and prayer rose sweetly upward from that 
mighty solitude. On the spot where the stranger might have 
expected the hoarse oath of the trader, the war-whoop of the 
Indian, or the shriek of the wild animal, ascended those sacred 
songs and holy words. 

So quiet was the air on this Sabbath morning, that the mu- 
sic was heard a long, long distance away. On the banks of 
a little stream to the northward, a band of trappers suddenly 
paused in their work and listened. Ah ! what recollections 
were recalled to their minds by those faint words of song. 
They saw again the little village church in the valley far away, 
where in boyhood they had listened and joined in the same 
hymn of praise. They sat again by the side of their parents, 
and heard their voices mingle with those around them. And 
when the long-meter doxology swelled out in rich, sonorous 
tones, there was more than one bronzed cheek wet with tears. 
It was not until the sound had died away and every thing was 
silent that they resumed their work again. 

Had a person traced out the source of this music he would 
have found it came from a small clearing, in front of the " Mis- 
Bion-house." The latter was a small, square building of logs, 



10 



THE HUNTER'S ESC ATE. 



erected without any regard to appearance, standing near the 
western side of the clearing. Directly back of this was about 
an acre of land under cultivation. Maize, potatoes, and the 
usual variey of garden vegetables were here found in great 
profusion, for the land was of exceeding richness and needed 
but the opportunity to yield the wealth that lay in its bosom. 

Rough and unsightly as was the exterior of this building, 
the neat and cleanly interior showed that the hand of woman 
was busy there. Her magic touch alone could give that ap- 
pearance of tidiness and comfort that impressed the stranger 
upon entering, and her voice alone could utter those sweet, bird- 
like notes which might be heard at almost any hour of the day. 

Father Richter, the missionary, was a man fully seventy 
years old. For forty years he had been a laborer among the 
poor, neglected red-men. At the time the religions world was 
so moved upon the subject of missions, and were nobly en- 
gaged in sending their missionaries to the far-off Pacific 
islands, to India and almost every portion of the habitable 
globe, young Harvey Richter became filled with a holy zeal 
to do something for his great Master. He was struck with 
wonder that the most needy and most accessible field — that 
which lay at their very doors — should be almost entirely over- 
looked. The more he inquired and learned regarding the 
Indians, the more impressed did he become with the necessity 
of sending laborers among them. At his own request, he was 
appointed missionary to the north-west. His allowance was 
very meager and he was compelled every few years to make 
a return journey to a frontier town to obtain it ; but he made 
it sufficient and never asked for an increase. A few years 
later, upon one of these visits, instead of finding a stipend, he 
found his recall awaiting him, with the announcement that it 
wai no longer possible to- sustain his mission. 

But Harvey Richter, accompanied by his faithful servant, 
Teddy, returned to his lowly cabin and field of labor, and for 
over thirty years, nothing was heard of him or his wife, who 
had accompanied him to his distant station. During this lapse 
of time, great changes had taken place in the missionary's 
iamily. Ten years after his advent among the Indians, he 
aad laid his boy beneath the sod, and fifteen years after this 
event, his beloved wife was placed beside him. She left 



THE MISSIONARY. II 

behind her an image and continual remembrancer of herself in 
a young infant that had only time to receive the kiss and long 
farewell of its mother, ere her lips were closed in death. It 
was nearly at this period that Teddy, who had accompanied 
a war-party of Indians, was shot by one of the enemies, so 
that Father Richter's only white companion was his daughter, 
Cora, now grown to the estate of womanhood. 

Cora possessed the same self-sacrificing devotion to her 
Master that had always characterized the parents, and was des- 
tined to become one of the most influential workers for good 
that had ever appeared among the aborigines of the Great 
West. 

On the Sabbath morning in question, some fifty Indians, 
male and female, were squatted around the clearing in front 
of the house, while the missionary, his gray locks hanging 
down upon his shoulders, and his blue eyes lit up with a holy 
fire, was proclaiming the word of God to them. He stood 
oehind a sort of rude desk, upon which lay the open Bible. 
His left hand rested upon its pages while he gesticulated with 
his right. His white hair and eyebrows, his clean-shaven face, 
his Roman nose, his simple, unpretending dress, gave an im- 
pressive dignity to his appearance, and the words, as they fell 
from his lips, struck upon willing and listening hearts. His 
position was such that the shadow of a huge tree protected 
him from the rays of the sun ; but his hearers had no such 
vail and wished for none. Like the eagle of their solitudes, 
the fiercest sunlight failed to blear their vision or to distract 
their attention. 

There were brawny and scarred warriors, with coarse, re- 
pulsive features, their black, wiry hair falling into their laps 
as they inclined their heads, as though they wished the uttered 
words might descend upon them ; there were frowsy squaws 
scarcely less repellent than their husbands, some with short 
black pipes inserted between their snaggy teeth ; there were 
younger and more comely maidens and children — all holding 
a respectful silence while Father Richter was addressing them. 

An occasional guttural ejaculation from some of the older 
ones showed their appreciation of the truths that were uttered 
in their own highly figurative language ; and, now and then, 
a head nodded forward several times for the purpose oi 



12 THE hunter's escape. 

expressing the same sentiment. Take the audience as a whole ; 
their deportment and interest would compare very favorably 
with that of any congregation in a civilized country, although 
their dress and appearance would have suffered from the same 
comparison. 

The services continued for about an hour, when they were 
concluded by prayer and the singing of the doxology. Being 
then dismissed, they lounged away from the clearing, some to 
return to their wigwams, others to bask, smoke and sleep in 
the sun until the day was past. All had too much regard for 
their kind " Father " and for the truths he had uttered to hunt 
or fish before the morrow.- 

The forty years' residence of Father Richter among the In- 
dians had given him a subtle knowledge of their character 
which could not lead him astray. He had fled, years before, 
with his young wife, through the trackless wilderness, from 
the remorsel«ss beings who sought their blood ; he had re- 
turned again, and three different times, two of which were 
in the dead of winter, had his dwelling been laid in ashes. 
He had seen the war-whoop transform the apparently mild 
and stolid beings around him, into furious demons whose rage 
could only be calmed by the offering of blood ; and, cowering 
like the lamb before the wolf, he had shrunk from them until 
the turbulent storm of passion passed over. But like his di- 
vine Teacher who had suffered and died before him, he could 
not be diverted from the great work of his life. His unvary- 
ing faithfulness, his uncomplaining suffering, the exalted consis- 
ten ij of his life and teachings, gradually impressed the savage 
hej rts, and since the birth of Cora, these periodical simooms 
of passion had left him unharmed. In their wildest and most 
uni jovernable moments, they never offered harm or insult to 
th( missionary or his daughter ; and his little log-hut was like 
a i ock in the ocean, safe against the howling of the tempest 
or the beating of the storm. 

Father Richter's extended residence among the Indians, we 
sa> had given him a knowledge of their character which 
could not lead him astray. And, as his experienced eye swept 
over them upon the Sabbath in question, he saw that their 
emotions were swayed by some unusual cause. Something 
*>ut of the usual line of events had occurred, and -whatever it 



OMENS OF TROUBLE. 18 

might be, it was of an extraordinary character. He trem- 
blingly hoped at first that it might be the premonitions of an 
Outpouring of the Holy Spirit ; but a few moments convinced 
him that such could not be the case. Although the attention 
paid his discourse, to an unpracticed eye, was as respectful as 
usual, yet there was a sullen scowl upon more than one brow 
that boded evil to something or some one. 

The missionary could not repress his anxiety and appro 
hension, when, at the conclusion of the services, he entered 
his house, and Cora, as usual, seated herself beside him, lean- 
ing upon his knees and looking up into his benignant face. 

" What is it that troubles you ?" she asked, almost immedi 
ately. 

" I am troubled about these poor Indians. I detected signs 
to-day that fill me with the greatest fear." 

" Fear of what ?" 

" Fear of another outbreak. The year before you were 
born, I noticed upon a Sabbath morning the same profound 
silence in my congregation, the same deep-drawn breaths, 
scowling looks, and aimless movements. That night our 
house was burned to the ground, and through the instrumen- 
tality of a young unconverted Sioux — scarcely more than a 
boy — our lives were saved." 

" Who was he ?" 

" Christian Jim — who since then has become a shining 
light among the followers of our blessed Jesus." 

" Do you think, father, they would harm us ?" 

" It is not that fear that gives me trouble, although I may 
have a little anxiety upon your account. It is sad to think 
that their wayward natures are so strong in these Indians, that 
after baptism and connection for years with our church, they 
sometimes in a moment relapse into their former barbarism. 
I have sought all these long years to teach them to subdue 
and overcome this sinful warring of the flesh against tho 
spirit. There are many of oar members — such as Christian 
Jim, or Indian Jim as he is sometimes called, for instance — ■ 
of whom we need have no fear; and then there are others 
who cause me much doubt and misgiving." 

" I sat by the door as usual when you were preaching to- 
day and could not help observing Jim — I suppose because he 



14 the hunter's escape. 

sat nearest to me. His clothes were all torn and tattered, and 
faded, as though he must have traveled a long distance." 

" It is over a month since I last saw him among my peo- 
ple." 

" Was there any thing in his manner that attracted your 
notice ?" 

" It was his, perhaps, that I noticed more than that of any- 
one else. Although his head was inclined, and he frequently 
looked up into my eyes, I am sure he scarcely heard a word 
I uttered. He has brought some intelligence to our people 
that has caused a profound sensation among them." 

" He will assufedly inform you, will he not ?" 

" I have no doubt of it ; it may be that he wishes to do it 
secretly and is awaiting the opportunity to speak to me with- 
out being observed by the others." 

" There is a family by the name of Brainerd a considerable 
distance to the southward with whom Jim is on quite inti- 
mate terms, and it may be that be has just returned — " 

Father Eichter knitted his brows as though from a sharp 
pain and lifted his hand for silence. 

" I understand it all — I understand it all," he repeated, as 
if to himself. " Alas ! it is as I feared." 

" What, father ?" 

" There has been an outbreak of the Indians at the Upper 
Agency and some of the other missions. I remember a warn- 
ing that I received some six weeks ago from that hunter who 
remained with us over night." 

" Here is Christian Jim to speak for liimself.' 

Those who have clone us the favor to read the little volume 
entitled " Indian Jim," will recall this friendly Sioux, without 
a detailed description of his appearance in this place. They 
will recollect also that after parting from his friends a fen 
miles to the westward of St. Paul, he made all haste bad 
again for the purpose of assisting others who might need his 
experienced hand and eye. Separating from the small bodj 
of cavalry, and leaving the burning houses and flying refugees 
to his left, he made a detour to the north-west, and arrived at 
the mission of Father Richter upon the Sabbath morning in 
question. He was strongly attached to this good man and 
daughter, and although he was conscious of the great influence 



CHRISTIAN JIM. 15 

they exerted over the wild spirits around them, th,e Sioux 
knew too much of his own people to trust thtm implicitly. 
He feared that this r.uparalleled outbreak would sweep them 
into its midst, and they would seize the avenging knife and 
tomahawk. 

Vague rumors had reached this branch of the Sioux of 
trouble among their kindred, but their peculiar situation and 
circumstances shut out all definite information until the arrival 
of Christian Jim among them. He gave the particulars of 
the massacre that had then been in progress for several weeks, 
counseling his brethren at the same time in the strongest 
terms to refrain from joining the insurgents, as a speedy pun- 
ishment was sure to be meted out to the transgressors by their 
great Father at Washington. 

The door of Father Eichter's house was never fastened, 
and it was always open to those who chose to come. Scarcely 
an hour of the day passed without some visitor, and, on the 
present occasion, the entrance of Christian Jim might have 
been taken as a matter of course, had it not been for the cir- 
cumstances already narrated. 

" I welcome you, Awalmock," said the missionary, address- 
ing his visitor by his Indian name. " It is a long time since 
I have seen your face among my people." 

Skilled as was the savage in concealing his emotion, he 
could not hide his agitation from those keen, searching blue 
eyes that were bent upon him as he took a seat. 

" Been long way off — helping white folks." 

" Who ?" 

" Mr. Brainerd — oder folks wid him — Little Crow bad man," 
said the Indian, breaking off in the abrupt manner so peculiar 
to his people. 

" I fear that he is ambitious and designing. He impressed 
me as such during the visits he has made in the course of the 
last two or three years." 

" Bad man — bad man." 

" There is something upon your mind, Awalmock ; do not 
hesitate to let me know what it is. You need not fear the 
presence of Cora." 

" Kill all white folks — hurt women and children, 'fraid dey 
come here — take scalp of gal." 



16 THE HUNTER'S ESCAPE. 

" Afraid they will come here, or afraid our own people will 
rise and slay us ? How is it, Awahnock ?" asked the mission- 
ary, in a voice that was startlingly loud and distinct. 

" 'Fraid dem," he replied, with a significant glance toward 
the open door. 

" You are an Indian, A wahnock, and ought to know your 
own people ; but then I I ave lived among them longer than 
have you. I must say tl-i.t I am a little uneasy, but I have 
not one-half the fear thai seems to possess you. Have you 
heard any thing positive ?*' 

" Injin look bad — t'ink good deal — don't say much." 

" They seem to be uneasy and restless, and I should not 
like to answer for the safety of any white man who should 
venture among us at this time ; but I doubt whether in their 
most excited moments one of them would raise his hand 
against me or mine." 

" Mugalwah bad," repeated the Sioux, scarcely above a 
whisper. 

" I must own that my apprehension is regarding him." 

" And why is that, father ? Is he not a Christian Indian ?" 

" He was baptized twenty years ago, but nature is strong ia 
him still. He it was who applied the torch to my dwelling, 
but he also assisted in building a new one, so that we may 
believe he sincerely repented of that deed ; but when his 
blood is aroused he is a dangerous man. He acted strangely 
this morning, during devotional exercises." 

" Mugalwah bad man — bad man," repeated Christian Jim, 
looking down to the floor and shaking his head. 

It was now near noon, and Cora busied herself in preparing 
the meal, while her father and their visitor continued the con- 
versation. The missionary learned the particulars of the es- 
cape of the Brainerd family and their friends, and gathered 
an idea of the fearful nature and extent of the outbreak. His 
own location was such that in case the storm burst over his 
head, he could not. escape by the same means that had saved 
them. It might be said that our former friends were on the 
south-eastern border of this district of fire and blood, while 
Father Richter was on the north-west. By plunging further 
into the forest toward the mountains, with a few faithful Chris- 
tian Indians, as his companions, he might elude these human 



THE SABBATH SERVICES. 17 

blood-liounds until their thirst was quenched. But he could 
not bring himself to believe that one of his people— not even 
Mugalwah — could offer him harm, and he resolved therefore 
not to heed the advice of Christian Jim, but to remain where 
he was. 

The Sioux stayed but a comparatively short time, and then 
sauntered out of the house and across the clearing. The eye 
of more than one dusky warrior was fixed upon him with a 
penetrating, suspicious look, and there was many a glance that 
was not friendly. All knew the unswerving faithfulness of 
this Indian, and now when the fires in their breasts were be- 
ginning to flicker and fan themselves into life again, and they felt 
their old natures struggling like giants within them, the sight 
of his calm, unimpassioned face drove them almost to mad- 
ness. There was many a heart that feared and trembled — for 
they understood their own nature and realized they were walk- 
ing upon the edge of a volcano. 

It was the custom with Father Richter, when the Sabbaths 
were pleasant, to hold two services during the clay — one in 
the forenoon and one in the afternoon. On the present occa- 
sion he was gratified to see all of his people come together at 
the usual time ; but there were more palpable manifestations 
of an uneasy feeling among them. 

He preached with unusual fervor that afternoon and be 
sought God's blessing upon his effort. He watched with an 
anxious eye its effect upon the leading spirits in his audience. 
His conclusions were such as to leave him in a more trouble- 
some doubt than ever. 

It was with a heavy, saddened heart that at the close of 
the exercises he made his way into his house again. Could it 
be that his forty years' labor among the North American In- 
dians was for naught ? Were their natures such that there 
was no christianizing them ? After years of profession and a 
consistent life, were they to relapse in a few hours into barbar- 
ism again ? Had the seed that he had sown fallen upon stony 
ground ? 

Ah, no ! good Father Richter ; the seed that you have scat- 
tered shall bear its fruit in eternity, and when at the last great 
day you confront your account, you shall find a boundless 
harvest awaiting you ! 



18 THE HUNTEK'S ESCAPE. 

It was this thought, as we have said before, that gave the 
minister more pain than any anxiety regarding the personal 
security of himself and daughter. 

As he made his way to his house, he became conscious that 
some one was following him. He did not turn until he was 
about to step in his own door, and then, he observed, with 
some surprise, that it was Mugalwah. The savage hesitated 
when upon the threshold, as if in doubt whether to enter 01 
not, but a kind invitation decided him. 

Standing in the very center of the floor, he folded his arms 
and then scowled upon the two beings before him. 

" You seem in trouble," said Father Richter, in his mild, 
sweet voice. " Sit down and acquaint me with it." 

The Indian declined the proffered chair and remained stand- 
ing. He refused all questions for a moment and then said, in 
his own tongue : 

" Yengese traders bad men — they tell lies." 

" I am sorry, Mugalwah, that such is the case ; but we must 
set them a better example." 

" They make treaties, promise us blankets, and beads, and 
money, and powder, but they lie, they never give them to us. 
They call us mighty warriors, and say the Great Father at 
Washington loves us and will send us our annuities ; but they 
lie. When they get the Indian's land they call him dog, and 
if he asks for money or food they kick him and say he may 
starve for all they care." 

The glitter of the black eye and the unconscious quicken- 
ing of the breath showed that the savage was working him- 
self into a passion. It was therefore the aim of the mission- 
ary to pour oil upon the troubled waters. 

" You remember what I told you about Jesus Christ this 
afternoon. He had the power to kill all those who treated him 
bo badly, and yet he never struck them a blow, nor ever said 
a bad word, but they put him to death at last." 

" He was a great, good man," said the savage, with more 
calmness. 

" Yes ; and we should all strive to be like him." 

" Why ain't white man like him ?" he asked, with eagci 
quickness. 

Father Richter sadly shook his head. 



mugalwah's thkeat. 19 

" He is bad, indeed, and our Great Father alone will punish 
him — " 

" And so will I," interrupted Mugalwah, in a voice of thun- 
der, drawing his scalping-knife from his belt. " Manitou will 
smile upon me for punishing him. I go now to seek him." 

" Before you go," continued the missionary, in the same 
low voice, " let us kneel down and pray for his blessing upon 
you." 

The savage hesitated a moment, but he could not refuse. 
A feeling partly of shame took possession of him, as he 
kneeled upon the floor, and Father Richter began his petition. 
The prayer was short and fervid, and of such a nature that 
it could not fail to strike reproach to the most hardened crim- 
inal contemplating deeds such as had entered into the heart 
of this professing Christian Indian. But when the missionary 
and his daughter arose from their knees and looked around 
them, Mugalwah was gone. He had silently glided out while 
the prayer was being offered. 



CHAPTER II. 

AN INDIAN TREATY. 

Though they were the children of the forest, and though they left no 
monuments of sculpture, painting and poesy, yet great waa their fall, and 
sorrowful is the story o their wrong. — Milford Bard. 

Some time previous to the events narrated in the preced- 
ing pages, there was a large gathering of Indians and white 
men upon the border. Their actions showed that they had 
congregated for some important purpose. 

The resistless march of civilization to the westward had 
been gradually and surely absorbing that portion of Minne- 
sota which, by right of treaty, belonged to the Indians. There 
had been murmurings and occasional threats of resistance to 
this unscrupulous innovation, which all saw would as effectu- 
ally drive them from the country as if the army of the 
United States had marched against them. Fish, the beaver, 
and the hunt were their means of subsistence. The former 



30 the hunter's escape. 

were thinning out from the continuous draught the whites 
made upon them ; the sound of the ax and the falling trees 
had frightened the beaver and the buffalo further westward 
into undisturbed solitudes ; and, as it is almost impossible for 
the Indians to change their nature — except in occasional in- 
stances, and become farmers, like whites— their own self- 
preservation compelled them to move on toward the setting 
sun. 

The sagacious agents and officials of our Government be- 
came aware that the territory at present belonging to the 
savages was of the most productive kind, while that to which 
they wished to remove them was little better than a desert. 
The step to do this was a simple one. All that was neces- 
sary was to make a treaty. 

Accordingly, on this morning, a large number of leading 
Indians, and agents, and traders were assembled together for 
the purpose of making the treaty in due form. It would have 
been observed that the whites were very loquacious and assid- 
uous in their efforts to make a favorable impression upon the 
savages. That " villainous compound," known as whisky, 
was dealt out with a liberal hand, and, in spite of the deter- 
mined efforts of the older chiefs, many of the most influential 
of their number became intoxicated in a beastly manner. 
They had just reached that frame of mind to which the wily 
officials had been assiduously assisting them, and would will- 
ingly have ceded, had it been in their power, their very souls 
for another draught of the fiery liquid. It being manifest 
that the whisky had done its work, the officials concluded it 
time to begin the ceremony. 

The first important step was to assure the Indians, through 
the interpreter, how unbounded was the affection entertained 
toward them by their Great Father at Washington ; the elo- 
quent orator informing them that it was impossible for him to 
sleep o' nights on account of his harrowing anxiety ; that he 
was becoming emaciated and worn to a skeleton ; that, after 
long nights of prayer, he had concluded that their welfare de- 
manded that they should be removed to a new country — a 
aew country that abounded with fish and all kinds of game, 
where the red-men could not fail of becoming speedily the 
most powerful of all the tribes that surroundud them. The 



MAKING A TREATY. 21 

orator concluded by intimating that- an extravagant price 
would be paid for their lands. 

The chief who replied to this speech, was a tall, middle- 
aged Indian, of a stern and dignified appearance, who had 
carefully abstained from taking a drop of the whisky, know- 
ing too well what the consequences would be if any of it 
passed his lips. He made, in the first place, some pointed 
references to several previous treaties to which he had been a 
party, whose stipulations had never been earned out. He re- 
ferred to the annuities long since due and unpaid ; to the 
outrageous claims of the traders which swallowed up all their 
supplies when sent out by Government ; to the atrocious acts 
of debauching their women and maltreating their men when 
they asked for justice. He added, finally, that his people 
were satisfied with the land upon which they were living, and 
they were not willing to leave it for the desert-like region 
further west. 

The answering speech of the white was artful. He ex- 
pressed his regret at the shortcomings of his brethren, and as- 
sured the chief and his maudlin companions, upon his honor, 
that nothing similar should be repeated. Their Great Father 
at Washington had learned with sorrow of these bad acts of 
his agents, and was resolved that none but good men should 
be henceforth appointed, and that every right should be guar- 
anteed them. He expressed a hope that the chief whom he 
was addressing would do his best to persuade his people and 
brother chiefs of the wisdom of their removing at once ; in- 
sinuating that their Great Father at Washington would greatly 
dislike to compel them to go. 

The savage had sagacity enough to understand the meaning 
of this remark. The matter was, simply, the Indians must 
give up their lands willingly or unwillingly, as they chose it 
should be. Still, for the purpose of securing a good price, if 
for nothing else, the chief continued to hesitate, until finally 
the remuneration was named. This was a liberal sum, and 
if the red-men could have felt sure of receiving it, they would 
have felt somewhat satisfied with the results of the treaty ; 
but they knew there was a gauntlet of " claims " for it to run 
which would well nigh swallow the amount itself. 

However, there was no help for it, and the formula of 



32 the hunter's escape. 

signing the treaty took place. The sober Indians made their 
" mark," while their drunken companions made a daub or 
a scrawl that served as well as the most beautiful chirography. 

Prominent among the whites was a long, lank-visaged, 
weazen-faced personage, known by the name of Matt Larkins, 
whose profession for the last ten years had been that of a 
whisky trader. Where or when he obtained his supplies, no one 
knew ; but he was rarely seen unless he had a small keg upon 
his shoulder, which never seemed full nor empty. The liquid 
jingling of the fluid could be heard as he walked, and the 
ravenous appetites of a score of Indians or hunters was un- 
able to exhaust its supply. 

Like the majority of speculators and adventurers, he was 
from New England, and during the years of his trade upon 
the border had accumulated quite a fortune. Still his insati- 
ate avarice craved more, and when his scalp was in imminent 
danger he did not hesitate to venture in the wilderness among 
the people whom he so deeply wronged by his retailing the 
destroying fluid. He never refused to trust the Indians for 
any amount they wished ; he knowing that he would be paid 
ten-fold when the annuities arrived. He, in conjunction with 
others as unprincipled as himself, had defrauded the savages 
in this manner of tens of thousands of dollars. 

Several times in his wanderings he had fallen into the 
hands of missionaries, who had done their utmost to persuade 
him to give up the terrible traffic, but all in vain. The orbit 
which he described through Minnesota brought him at period- 
ical times to the Clearing. The first time he arrived there, 
he hid his keg in the woods, and remained a day or two in 
the cabin of Father Kichter, partaking of his hospitality, and 
inquiring, with an air of concern, about the spiritual welfare 
of his people, after which he passed into the woods, took his 
cask to the village, and distributed it among them, receiving 
an enormous profit from the Indians, who were set wild by 
one taste of the liquid. The result of this act was a desper- 
ate quarrel, in which two savages were lulled and one maimed 
for life. 

A rather demonstrative sort of wrath upon the part of 
Father Richter may be excused, when, three years after, Matt 
Larkins came plodding his way across the clearing in the 



A WHISKY TKADEB. 23 

direction of his house. He could scarcely believe his eyes, 
until the man halted directly in front of his door, dropped hia 
keg carefully to the ground, and extended his hand with a 
broad smile. Without noticing his salutation, he picked up 
the cask, and, raising it above his head, dashed it to pieces 
upon a stone. Then, in a voice of thunder, he commanded 
the trader to depart, and never to make his appearance before 
him again. 

Before leaving, Matt Larkins hinted that he should like to 
be remunerated for the loss he had sustained, and remarked 
also that he desired to spend a few hours in the society of 
Cora. This was the spark that fired the magazine. As quick 
as lightning, he was caught in the iron grasp of Father Richter, 
who ran across the clearing with him, and then flung him 
into the woods, as he would have thrown a deadly viper from 
him. 

The next day after the conclusion of the treaty, Matt Lar- 
kins sat in the back-room of a trader's building, in confiden- 
tial conversation with the short, stumpy, bullet-headed trader 
himself. Though widely different in physiognomy, each face 
offering distinct characteristics, both bore the unmistakable 
impress of avarice, cupidity, and a low, groveling nature. 
The object of their lives seemed to be solely to amass wealth 
at the expense of the Indians around them. Both had glasses 
standing before them, from which they took semi-occasional 
draughts, each smoking a short black brier-wood as he 
did so. 

" That ere treaty them fellers made yisterday, is a hunky 
grand thing for us who're in the business," remarked the 
trader. 

" Dunno as it'll improve my business much, as I have all 
I can do now, and you see it ain't easy to improve sich a 
perfession." 

" But the Government give a good price for them lands, 
didn't they ? How them poor devils would open their eyes if 
they could only lay their hands onto it. But I wonder how 
much they'll feel in their claws, eh, Matt ?" 

" Not a heap ; I've some claims that must be met afore 
they git a grab at it." 

" How much ?" 



24 THE huntek's escape. 

" If any body should ax you, and you should tell 'em fire 
thousand dollars, you wouldn't be ■eery fur out of the -way." 

" The deuce ! How come — " 

"'Sh ! don't say nothing; I've got the thing all down on paper 
all straight." 

" Say, Matt," continued the trader, with an insinuating smile, 
as he edged nearer to him, " let's hear how you done it. My 
claims, as first made out, footed up only twenty-five hundred 
dollars. Me and my clerk, Billson, worked at it half the 
night and managed to hist it up to four thousand ; but, hang 
me, we couldn't raise it another peg. Let's hear how you 
done it'?" 

" Have you got^he claims handy ?" 

" They're just in 'tother room." 

" Fetch 'em." 

The trader whisked into the salesroom, and in a moment 
appeared, bearing a large roll of sheets pasted together, which 
he unrolled before Matt Larkins. The latter ran his eye rap- 
idly down the long list of articles and names, and then tossed 
it from him with a disdainful expression. 

" Just what I thought, Womple ; you and your clerk don't 
know much about the business. Don't you see, all these In- 
dians is alive /" 

Womple's face brightened. 

" Now, one-third of the names in my account belong to In- 
dians that have been under the ground for the last three years. 
The agents don't know the difference, and, if they did, what's 
the odds ? You know they ain't pertickler, especially if there's 
a chance to turn an honest penny." 

" I never thought of that," repeated "Womple ; " it's a good 
idea. How much would your bills amount to, ef they was 
just right ?" 

" Five thousand dollars." 

" You know what I mean." 

" About six or seven hundred. Strikes me too, Sam, you're 
mighty fraid to charge for what you've got here. These 
hatchets, knives, and ammunition, ought to be a heap more. 
Such things have riz amazingly since the war — then you can 
say something about extra cost of transportation and — fudge ! 
Womple, such a roll as that ought to foot up clean ten thousand 



HOW LAltKINS " FETCHES 'EM." 20 

dollars, and all I've got to say is that you're a fool if you 
don't make it do that. My motto is, • improve your chances.' " 

" I'll cloo't ; I've learned a thing or two in the last ten 
minutes." 

" You'll learn a thing or two more, when you've traded 
with these Sioux as long as I have. Now, some folks pre- 
tend to pity these miserable dogs ; but, as for me, I can't see 
what there is to pity about them. They're a dirty, greasy, 
bloodthirsty set, and it's our Christian duty to. make all the 
money possible out of 'em. Leastways, that's what I've been 
trying to do the last ten years." 

" These infornal missionaries play the mischief with our 
business. They git their New England notions — " 

" Hold on, Womple, I'm from glorious old New England ; 
don't you slander her in my presence." 

" And you're a fine specimen, too ! Them missionaries git 
their outlandish notions in the heads of the dogs, and we 
can't do much with 'em." 

" My beverage is purty sure to fetch 'em. They may hold 
back a while, but it's certain to jerk 'em at last. The hard- 
est place I ever got into is up north-west, where old Father 
Eichter, as they call him, is stationed. The Indians had sot 
their face so strong agin me, that I came mighty near losing 
my skulp when they fust got sight of me ; but they couldn't 
stand the fire-water. As soon as they got a taste of that, I 
had 'em, and I made a good thing off my sales." 

" Where was the old man all this time ?" 

" He didn't know nothing about it, till it was too late — he ! 
ne ! he ! he ! he !" 

" Have you been there since ?" 

" Yes ; but I didn't get treated so well," returned the trader, 
with a more serious countenance. " He busted my keg and 
then run me out of the Clearing." 

Womple laughed heartily, and asked whether his Indian 
friends did not come to his relief. 

" Come to my relief! No ; do you suppose they cared any 
thing for me ? It was only the whisky they was after ; and, as 
I hadn't that, I left till I could get some more. Howsumever, 
I'll pay that old man off yit." 

" Larkins," said the agent, assuming the air of a philosopher 



26 



THE HUNTERS ESCAPE. 



"do you know I have my doubts about Indians having 
souls ?" 

" I dunno," replied the trader, indifferently, as he enjoyed 
his pipe. 

" Yes ; well, I have. They're lil'3 monkeys — a little higher 
brutes, but sometimes I think they ain't much either. They 
stand in the way of modern civilization, and I think it's a 
disgrace to a Christian nation that we allow 'em to live." 

" Y-a-s-," drawled Larkins, as though the subject was not 
interesting to him. " Y-a-s ; it might be a good thing for civ- 
ilization, if they was out the way, but how about the whisky 
and trading business ?" 

" That's so." 

" Then, you see, they're like snakes ; you may thin 'cm 
out as much as you please, but there will always be a few 
left." 

" Womple," called out Larkins, as if to direct his attention 
particularly to what he was about to say, " you hain't been on 
the border as long as I have, and consequently you don't know 
ns much about these copper-skins as I do, do you?" 

" I s'pose not — I hadn't oughter, at any rate." 

" Well, I can tell you something that may be you don't 
suspect. There's going to be an Indian war mighty soon." 

The agent started from his seat. 

" What do you mean ?" 

" Just what I say. I know it, Womple ; but you chaps and 
the other fellows Government sends out here are so thundering 
blind that you'd never s'pect what was going on till you get 
a whack over the head from one of their tomahawks. There's 
Commissioner Dole and some of the others that I think smell 
as much as two rats." 

The agent looked too excited and frightened to speak, and 
Larkins continued in his mild manner. 

" Y-a-s, Womple, afore we're many months older there's 
going to be such a time as neither you nor I never dreamed 
of. There's a storm coming, and we as understand the weathei 
can see the clouds already gathering in the sky." 

" But tell me all about it." 

" You'n I have had several friendly dealings together ; and, 
as you always acted the honest part, that is, helped me make 



TUB TKADER JFRIGHTENED. 27 

a few thousand out of the Sioux, he ! he ! he ! I feel disposed 
to let you know, so that you may trim your sails and be ready. 
Well, then, in the first place, Womple, these Sioux are getting 
tearing mad. Their annuities have been due for several 
months, but they don't come. Their Great Father, Old Abe, 
has got enough to do to take care of Washington, without 
seeing to his dusky children. Then this treaty is going to 
kick up another muss. It don't go down very well." 

" But dare they do such a thing ?" 

" Dare they do it ? It's one of two things : to be quietly 
starved to death, or to raise a row and die like a true warrior. 
Which, do you s'pose they're most likely to do ?" 

There was an indolent, sleepy indifference in the manner of 
Matt Larkins that was in striking contrast to the excited, anx- 
ious manner of the agent. The latter was continually chang- 
ing his seat, moving his arms, spitting, smoking and drinking, 
while the trader, with his hat thrown back, and his elbow 
resting upon the table, was drawing figures with his finger, in 
the spilled liquor. When he raised his eyes to those of his 
friend, he did not move his head in the least, and quickly dropped 
his listless gaze to the motion of his finger. 

" Yas, Womple, which be they the most likely to do ? 
There's another thing that's stirred the blood of these Sioux. 
You know Government has commanded them to stop making 
war against the Chippewas. That come mighty nearer than 
many think of kicking up a promiscuous massacre." 

" But, Larkins if this is so, hadn't you oughter to tell the 
people of it ? There's a good many poor women and children 
that will suffer." 

" Bah ! how many do you s'pose would believe you ? These 
stingy old farmers up through the country will keep plowing 
and harvesting until they see their buildings on fire, then 
they'll begin to think something's the matter. Take my 
advice, Womple, and don't say a word to any one about it. 
What is it to you, any way ? You jist take mighty good 
care of your own head, and let the others do the same. 
Hist! there's an Indian jist entered your store. Open the 
door on a crack and listen to what he buys." 

The agent sprung up and opened the door, and peered 
through. A huge savage stood before the counter. Although 



28 THE hunter's escape. 

a warm day, he was wrapped to his chin in a large blanket, 1 
His long, black, wiry hair hung down over his head and face, 
and he had a sullen, treacherous look, that might well have 
aroused suspicion in a person unacquainted with him. 

" The fellow has got a gun and hatchet, of course, but see 
what it is he is after," whispered Larkins. 

The first thing for which the savage asked was a knife. 
After considerable dallying this was purchased and he then 
wished to look at the hatchets. A large, sharp-bladed one 
was selected, after which be took a quantity of percussion 
caps, lead and powder. Rather singularly he paid the price 
asked for them in good legal greenbacks. 

" Where did he get them ?" asked Larkins, when the sav- 
age had departed, and his clerk had informed him of the fact. 
" It ain't often a Sioux gets sight of a greenback, and Billson 
says he had several more in his pouch." 

" Maybe some white man has been fool enough to pay him 
nis debts. It's just as likely, however, he's knocked over 
some person he's found traveling atween the settlements or 
stations, and confiscated his pocket-book." 

" I've never seen that fellow, and it's likely he's come from 
a considerable distance. I don't like his looks at all." 

" Did you ever see a Chippewa or Sioux: that suited you 
in his looks ? If you have, you've seen more than I have. 
Tou may make up your mind, Womple, there is going to be 
a good many other faces that you won't like to see afore long," 

"Larkins, "you've made me right down oneasy. I feel like 
emigrating back agin." 

" He ! he ! he ! Pudge ! just haul in your horns and lay low 
till the storm blows over. When you see it coming, just 
make yourself skearce fur awhile." 

" What are you going to do ?" 

" Nothing pertickler. I shall take a snooze till they're done 
hacking and cutting, and then come out and go to selling my 
beverage agin. When the thing is about to commence, I've 
got a little matter to attend to up toward the Clearing." 

" What is it ?" 

" Never mind ; maybe you'll learn one of these days ; if 
you don't there's no difference. I thought I'd drop and give 
you the warning. You may take it for what it's worth." 



FATHER RICHTER AND CORA. 29 

" I've took it already. I'll warrant you I won't sleep very 
sound o' nights for some time to come." 

" Pooh ! it's very little it'll disturb me. "Well, "Womple, I 
must be off." 

So saying, the whisky-trader passed out through the store- 
house and disappeared. As he moved away, he muttered and 
talked to himself as though there were some important scheme 
revolving in his mind. It may be safely doubted, however, 
whether his thoughts were more intently occupied than those of 
the agent and trader that he had left behind him. 



CHAPTER III. 



A VISITOR. 



We felt that we were fellow-men ; 

We felt we were a band 
Sustained here in the wilderness 

By Heaven's upholding hand. — W. D. Gallaghbb. 

" Poor Mugalwah," repeated the missionary, as he arose 
from his feet and saw that the savage had realty departed. 
" It has been a sore struggle with him, and I much fear the 
Spirit of God has not come off conqueror. Never mind, 
daughter, we are all in the hands of our Father, and he will 
work his good will with this Indian." 

" How fortunate indeed it is that there are no settlements in 
the vicinity of our little village ; these warriors would not 
fail to attack them this night." 

" I suspect that Little Crow, or some of the chiefs, have 
sent messengers to our village, and have excited them by 
harangues. They are burning to take up the tomahawk, and 
I shall not be surprised if on the morrow I find nearly all the 
warriors gone south to join in the dreadful work." 

" And when they return ?" 

" They will be intoxicated with the sight of blood, and it 
may be prudent, daughter, for us to hide in the woods for a 
time." 

The eirl looked for a moment in the face of her father, and 



30 TIIE HXTNTER'S ESCAPE. 

then, drawing her chair nearer him, buried her head in his lap 
without uttering a syllable. The missionary passed his hand 
slowly over the golden hair, as if to soothe the troubled child, 
who cowered like a frightened bird beneath his arm for pro- 
tection. Instead of speaking, he began singing in a' low, trem- 
ulous but sweetly musical voice, a hymn that spoke of trust 
and faith in the oversight of God. It was sung to the tune 
of Auld Lang Syne and had always been a favorite with the 
missionary. 

As he sat thus, humming over those cheering words, his 
eyes resting absently upon the door, the mild autumn after- 
noon gradually faded into twilight which in turn deepened 
into evening. Cora had fallen into slumber, and his hand 
rested upon her head ; still he sung, in his modulated voice, 
the hymn, and the tears slowly trickled down his cheek. 
Never before had Father Eichter enjoyed such a close com- 
munion with his Saviour as upon that night in September, 
when he sat in his own hut and ran back over the past forty 
years of his life. Never before had he experienced in so tan- 
gible, so palpable a form the presence of the blessed Master 
whom he had served through all those long, eventful years. 
He sat there and wondered whether it was possible for the 
world to offer a situation for which he would exchange his 
own, in spite of the cloud that was lowering over it. No, no, 
a thousand times no, was the inward answer to the question. 

He had sat for nearly three hours in this soothing reverie, 
and he was all unconscious of the lapse of time, when he was 
recalled by the sound of a footstep, and a form flitted by the 
open door. He merely caught a glimpse of it, insufficient in 
the dim moonlight to reveal the identity of the person. 

A moment later, the Indian reappeared, and stepping to 
the door looked in. As there was no light in the room, and 
the missionary was in shadow, he failed to discover who was 
sitting directly in front of him. 

" Won't you enter and sit with me awhile ?" asked Father 
Richter, in his mild, persuasive tones. As quick as lightning 
the form drew back and whisked out of sight. 

Father Richter, while the Indian was standing before him, 

had done his utmost to ascertain who it was, but had failed 

learning only that it was not Mugalwah. 



TIIE PRAYER AND HYMN. 81 

Becoming sensible now of thg lateness of the hour, he 
gently raised the head of Cora from his lap, and closed the 
door. As she sat somewhat confused and bewildered, he 
struck a light. 

" It is quite late, daughter — time that you had retired." 

The heavy wooden-covered Bible was takon down from the 
rude mantel-piece, a chapter read, and then the evening prayer 
was offered up. The peculiar circumstances surrounding the 
two did not make its pleading fervor any greater. It breathed 
the same unshaken faith and trust, the same unwavering hope, 
and was as brief as usual. 

The house of the missionary was but a story and a half in 
hight — there being a rude loft produced by the shape of the 
angular roof. Three rooms only were upon the floor, the 
large sitting and dining-room, and the two bedrooms, occu- 
pied respectively by the father and daughter. When travelers 
remained over night, as they occasionally did, accommodations 
were made for them in the sitting-room, or if the necessity 
was great, the loft came into use. 

Father Richter had constructed a sort of rude lamp, fed 
from the fat of animals, which had done him good service for 
a number of years. With this he escorted his daughter to 
the bedroom and there kissed her good-night. She had be- 
come inspired with the same soothing trust as her father, and 
scarce a thought of danger crossed her miud, as she sunk into 
a sweet, dreamless slumber upon her couch. 

Meanwhile the excitement among the red-men was on the 
increase. Their village, which stood several hundred yards 
from the Clearing, was the scene of earnest dispute. The 
North American Indian is a strange being, with a nature 
which it has puzzled many a man to understand. In this lit- 
tle community, among whom Father Eichter had administered 
for twenty years, nearly every adult person had made a pro- 
fession of Christianity ; and, so long as temptation remained 
away from them, their lives were consistent. But let those 
infernal pests of society, the w-hisky-traders, make their ap- 
pearance in the neighborhood, and the appetites of the men, 
and some of the women, became uncontrollable. Despite the 
protestations and threatenings of their teacher, they swallowed 
the fiery abomination so long as they could obtain it, or as 



32 the hxtnter's escape. 

long as they were capable of holding another drop. And 
then, like so many helpless brutes, they slept until the effects 
of their debauch had passed away. 

Then, repentant and sorrowful, they besought the forgive- 
ness of God and of the aggrieved missionary for their sin. 
They prostrated themselves in the very dust, almost starved 
themselves to death, and crucified their bodies in every man- 
ner as a punishment for their transgressions. Even Christian 
Jim, who, beyond all question, was a sincere follower of the 
Saviour, was not proof at all times against these tempta- 
tions. 

Then, at rare intervals, came, faintly but distinctly, the 
sounds of war, and these meek Indians, whether upon the 
chase, fishing, or at home in their villages, raised their heads 
and listened. Assuring themselves of the meaning of the 
sound, the flashing eye, the compressed lip and the quickly- 
drawn breath showed how deep was the response of their 
natures to the well-remembered call. 

And thus it was, on this Sabbath morning in autumn, when, 
ordinarily, they were quiet and thoughtful, that they were 
talkative and excited. The messenger of Little Crow had 
brought words that were like wind to the slumbering fire. 
The majority were in favor of starting at once to the south- 
ward and joining in the work of destruction of the settlers; 
but a few, among whom Christian Jim was prominent, en- 
deavored to dissuade them from the step. The controversy 
was long and earnest, but it effected no good. 

A little before midnight a band of some twenty warriors, 
fully armed and in their war-paint, withdrew from the village, 
and stealthily entered the wood in a south-easterly direction. 
A glance at their fiendish faces would have assured any one 
of their intent. The leading spirit was Mugalwah, who more 
than once had threatened the life of Christian Jim for oppos- 
ing his advice so strenuously. 

About a mile away, on the banks of a small creek, the 
party halted, and Mugalwah withdrew deeper into the woods. 
Fairly away from his companions, he at once turned his face 
toward the Clearing. He was not long in passing the inter- 
vening distance. Carefully avoiding his own village, he came 
upon the log-house from a different direction. On the very 



JHE POWER OF PRAYER. 33 

margin of the Clearing, he paused to contemplate, In the dim 
moonlight, the scene before him. 

As silent as the tomb stood the little home of the mis- 
sionary. Its outlines were distinctly visible, as was also the 
humble garden in its rear. The few rows of maize, the spire- 
like beans, and the dense undergrowth, bespoke a tidy and in- 
dustrious hand, and the impression of soothing quiet was in- 
creased, if possible, by the profound silence that rested upon 
every thing. 

But this picture of contentment was lost upon the erratic 
being who stood in the edge of the woods. His paint-be- 
daubed face was disfigured by the expression of frightful ferocity 
that gleams from the Indian's face when engaged in his inhu- 
man work ; and the gentle instructor to whom, for so many 
years, he had looked up to with reverence, was now trans- 
formed into an object of implacable hate. 

As noiseless as a phantom, the savage glided across the 
open space toward the building. A stranger standing upon 
the edge of the Clearing, would have observed him pass around 
the corner of the house, where, as he sunk upon his knees, 
his form dissolved into the deeper shadow of the building it- 
self. 

At the recent date of which we are writing, the lucifer 
match was in use among the Indians who lived in the neigh- 
borhood of the border, or who had communication with the 
whites. Mugalwah was provided with a number of these 
which he held in his left hand, while he gathered kindlings 
with his right. 

The dexterity with which he collected the twigs, brush 
and dried leaves and heaped them against the house, might 
have led any one to suspect that he was an experienced hand 
at the business. Assuring himself that there could be no 
miscarriage, he swept his eagle eye over the Clearing to make 
sure that there were no interlopers, and then he carefully lis- 
tened to find whether any one was stirring inside. 

All was still, and with a steady hand he drew a couple of 
matches over a distended portion of his hunting-dress. They 
ignited instantly, and he appiled them to the lower portion of 
the pile. A slight dew had fallen, and there was some delay 
before the flame communicated. By carefully shading the 



34 THE hunter's escape. 

blaze, it Boon caught and the fire steadily and rapidly in- 
creased. 

The face of the Indian glowed with a demoniac ecstasy, as 
he watched the serpentine flame widening and broadening, 
and realized that in a moment the house of Father Richter 
must be wrapped in fire. 

All at once he started. Something caught his ear. He 
placed his hand upon his hunting-knife and glanced around 
him. The sound came from within the building, and was 
that of the missionary himself. It was low and monotonous, 
and Mugalwah needed but a moment to assure him that it 
was the voice of prayer. 

From some cause or other, Father Richter found it impos- 
sible to sleep upon retiring some time before. Lying in Ms 
bed for a couple of hours, he finally arose, dressed, and seated 
himself in a large chair at the foot of his bed. Here, medi- 
tating as was his wont, it was not unnatural for him after a 
time to sink upon his knees and commune in prayer with his 
Maker. All unconscious of the danger which so imminently 
threatened him, the principal subject of his petition was the 
very being, who, at that moment, was encompassing him and 
his daughter with a horrid death. 

Mugalwah heard his name pronounced and he listened more 
intently than ever. The prayer was in the Indian tongue, so 
that he understood every word. What a study the face of 
that savage offered, as it was lit up by the flaming twigs in 
front of him. His soul was stirred to its innermost depths 
and a mighty struggle for a few seconds took place in his 
breast. 

Meanwhile the blaze was increasing. Already the corners 
of the dry, seasoned logs were beginning to smoke and to give 
evidence of dangerous heat. Still the low voice of prayer 
was heard, and still the name of Mugalwah was offered be- 
fore the Throne of Grace. The Indian bent his head still 
lower and listened. Like an aroused lion he sprung to his 
feet and leaping upon the burning twigs scattered them far 
and near. Pausing only long enough to assure himself that 
there was no possible danger to the building, he ran across 
the Clearing at the top of his speed and plunged into the 
wood and disappeared. 



THE YOUNG HUNTER. 35 

It seemed as if that Clearing was to be the scene of more 
than one singular occurrence upon that autumn night. It was 
scarcely twenty minutes after the departure of the savage, 
when another form, clothed in the dress of a white man, is- 
sued from the wood at almost the same point that he had en- 
tered, and strode across the Clearing in the direction of the 
cabin. Eeaching the door, he rapped upon it with a force 
that might have been heard at a considerable distance. 

Father Richter had not yet retired, and he answered the 
summons almost immediately, pausing, however, long enough 
to light his lamp. As he opened the door, his eyes fell upon 
the smiling face of a young man attired in the garb of a hun- 
ter, holding a rifle in his left hand while he extended his right 
to grasp that of the missionary. 

Their manner was such as to show that they had met be- 
fore, but under circumstances that one might suspect were 
not altogether of an agreeable nature. There was a restraint 
about the young man, and his smile was forced, as though he 
were in doubt about the reception that awaited him. Father 
Richter took a second penetrating glance to assure himself 
there was no mistake, and then he half drew back as though 
to close the door. The young man noticed it and recoiled a 
step. 

" Am I not welcome, Father Richter ?" 

" Come in, for you are in more danger than you suspect ; 
but, Roderick, you are the last man I expected to see, and I 
will not take a lie upon myself by saying that I am glad to 
see you ; but I turn no man from my door, much less one of 
my own bloed." 

It is a mournful fact regarding this fallen nature of ours, 
that there are very few beings who have attained to any- 
where near perfection, in a moral point of view, without hav- 
ing some particular failing ; or, to express our meaning by 
figure, scarcely any man can so protect and fortify himself, 
but there will be some weak spot that he has overlooked, 
where the great adversary obtains almost undisputed en- 
trance. 

A person might have lived for years with old Father Rich- 
ter, and never found any thing which was not to be admired ; 
and yet, between him and young Roderick Charnly, a slight 



38 THE huntek's escape. 

occurrence of a few years before had placed a chasm ovcf 
■which neither could pass. The missionary wished the man 
no harm ; he only asked that Providence might keep them 
separated. He had no desire to see nor to hear any thing re- 
garding him. After the decided rebuff he had given him 
about a } r ear before, he made himself believe that the young 
hunter would encamp anywhere in the woods rather than ap- 
proach the Clearing. But on this autumn night, when, of all 
others, he should have been hundreds of miles away from the 
infuriated Minnesota Indians, he had made his way through 
the wilderness to a spot within a hundred yards of the very 
beings who would have torn him to pieces had they known 
of his presence. He had made his way to this point, we say, 
when he knew that, at the most, a dubious welcome only 
awaited him. 

" I remain with you but a short time," said he, in answer 
to the remark of the missionary ; " so, Father Richter, please 
make no reference to that unhappy matter which has placed 
such a distance between us." 

The two seated themselves as if for a long conversation. 

" And what, Roderick, may I inquire, is the cause of this 
unexpected visit upon your part ?" 

" I came to inform you of a dreadful danger that hangs 
over your head. A massacre has broken out in Minnesota, 
which, under the direction of Little Crow, Little Priest, Little 
Six, "White Dog, and many other leaders, is spreading through 
the different agencies — the Upper and Lower Reservation. In 
short, Father Richer, the entire range of settlements west of 
St. Paul are considered in danger of destruction. Fearing 
that you might not be aware of this, I have made my way 
from Red River to inform you." 

" I am grateful for the interest you have thus manifested, 
but did you really imagine that the ignorant people who sur- 
round me, and among whom I have resided for so many years, 
could ever be induced to raise their hand against me or 
mine ?" 

" I hope not, Father Richter, but you must not forget that 
other savages are in reach of you. The missionaries Riggs 
and Williamson have been compelled to flee for their lives, 
and if they are in danger why may not you be ?" 



A DIFFEKENCE OF OPINION. 37 

There was a lingering sarcasm in this question as if the 
young man would reprove this implied assumption of superior 
influence among the Indians. His words impressed the old 
man very strongly. 

" They have been driven from their homes !" he repeated. 
" I hardly believed the Sioux would have sought to harm 
them, exasperated as they may be against the whites." 

" These aborigines that are so lauded by sentimental poets 
and romance writers are a treacherous and bloody-minded 
race." 

" They are a people who have been grievously wronged by 
the whites. What can you expect from them, when such 
wicked agents are appointed by Government, and when such 
dishonest traders grow rich from these poor, starving red- 
men ?" 

" There is truth in what you say, and I suppose it will al- 
ways be so. I did not apprehend much peril to you from the 
immediate people around, but there are others, many of whom 
are now engaged in this devilish work, who know of you, and 
may take it into their heads to pay you a visit. The distance 
is not too great, Father Eichter, for such a thing to occur." 

" I am aware of that, and also learned yesterday from 
Awahnock, or Christian Jim, as he is more generally known, 
of the outbreak. Years ago I fled through the woods to es- 
cape the fury of these Indians ; but I am too old to do that 
now. I can labor but a few years at most and it matters lit- 
tle when I am called away. My apprehension only is for 
Cora." 

" Why not flee to the land of civilization and spend your 
old days in comfort and quiet ?" 

" No, no ; I have dwelt too long in these solitudes to make 
a residence endurable in the States. Should the necessity of 
saving Cora's life compel me to leave this Clearing, I shall go 
deeper into the woods — further away from the abode of while 
men ; but it will be a regard only for the welfare of my cher- 
ished daughter that can drive me to such a step." 

The young man was silent for a moment, and then he 
asked : 

" Father Richter, are you aware of the fearful character of 
this outbreak ?" 



33 THE hunter's escape. 

" I can well imagine what it is. I have seen the Indian 
in all moods, and understand what he is when wrong and per- 
secution have aroused his fallen nature within him. Many 
an innocent mother and child must fall before the tomahawk 
and knife, while the truly guilty escape. Ah me, it is sad, sad." 

" The war makes such a drain upon our men that I am 
afraid there will be difficulty in sending a sufficient force to 
quell this insurrection which is of such considerable extent.' 1 

" Unless Government appoints Christian or at least honest 
agents, it will require a standing army to afford protection to 
the emigrants who venture into the north-west. Do not mis- 
understand me, Eoderick ; this is a subject upon which I feel 
deeply. I would that I could reach the ear of the authorities 
for a few moments. This outbreak must be put down, as it 
undoubtedly will in the course of a few weeks, but what as- 
surance can you have that the same thing will not be re- 
peated ?" 

" A wholesome hanging of two or three hundred of the 
leading spirits, I think, would have a good effect upon those 
who are left." 

" It might so long as the terror inspired by such murders 
lasted ; but if you think such a course could paralyze the arm 
of every red-man you are as seriously mistaken as you were 
m that matter a few years ago." 

The scarlet suffused the face of the young man and a sharp 
reply rose to his lips ; but, recalling his position, he checked 
nimself and sat for a moment in silence. He felt that the 
difference between himself and Father Rickter was irreconcil- 
able, and it became him to avoid all reference to the matter. 
A.s if recollecting himself, the missionary said : 

" You must pardon me, Roderick, that I have not asked 
you to eat. You will partake of something ?" 

" I thank you ; I have no appetite, and the hour is too far 
advanced already." 

" Did you observe any thing unusual as you approached the 
Clearing ?" 

" There was nothing in the immediate vicinity of your 
cabin that I noticed ; but I had a very narrow escape upon 
the bank of the creek a mile or so away." 

" How ?' 



A REQUEST AND A PROMISE. 39 

* I had no thought of meeting any one, and came upon a 
party of Indians that seemed upon the point of crossing. It 
was almost a miracle that I did not run directly into theii 
clutches. It may be that I should have suffered no harm, as 
they were your people." 

" They would have made short work with you, Eoderick ; 
their blood is fairly aroused, and the face of a white person, 
excepting perhaps Cora and myself, would drive them to 
frenzy. If you saw a party of my people, they were on their 
way to take part in the massacre. I wonder much at your 
venturing here at this time." 

" I was greatly concerned for your safety." 

The hunter saw that his words were only half believed, 
and he regretted having uttered them. He was so nettled at 
the manner of his host that he rose abruptly. 

" Well, good-by, Father Richter. I hope the time may come 
when you will think better of me than you do now." 

" Roderick, I think no ill of you — God knows I think ill 
Df no man ; but I believe that it would be better for both of 
us that we should meet no more in this world. You under- 
stand my feeling toward you. When you leave me, let it be 
with the understanding that you have made your last visit !" 

" I promise you never to darken your doors again." 

" But hold ; yonder, I see, the day is breaking. You can 
not leave my house until to-morrow evening. You would 
never get a mile beyond the Clearing." 

" I have not lived for many years in the wilderness ; but I 
have lived there long enough to be able to take care of my- 
self," replied the young hunter with a slight tinge of haughti- 
ness in his manner, as he lifted his rifle from where it had re- 
posed against the side of the room, and made a motion to- 
ward the door. The only reply of Father Richter was to 
draw him one side and point through the small open window. 
Following the direction of his finger, Roderick Charnley dis- 
covered an Indian and two squaws making their way across 
the Clearing. 

" The village is already astir, and you would be detected 1^ 
an instant." 

" It would not be the first time, I have been detected," re- 
plied the young man, still making as though to depart. 



*0 THE HUNTER'S ESCAPE. 

" Roderick," commanded the missionary, in his impressive 
and earnest manner, as he laid his hand upon his shoulder, 
"• should you depart from my house before the coming dark- 
ness, your blood -would be upon my head. You must obey 
me. Keep yourself carefully concealed from view through 
the day, and at night I shall then bid you good speed upon 
your way. You are weary ; pass into my own room, and 
rest yourself until you are called." 

The hunter obeyed as if he were a child ; and, as the 
door was closed behind him, Father Richter seated himself in 
his chair, to spend an hour in meditation and prayer. 



CHAPTER IV 



THE WAR-PARTY. 



The white 
Demon of greed, and rum, and treachery, ' 
Is on their heels for tez - ror or dispatch. 

William Eoss Wallace. 

The band of Indians that left the village and halted upon 
the banks of the creek were not quite twenty in number. 
Having chosen Mugalwah as their leader, they awaited his re- 
turn without questioning. In the course of an hour or so, he 
made his appearance and they resumed their journey toward 
the south-east. When the sun came up over the wilderness 
they had traversed many a mile. 

Down in a valley-like depression, they made a second halt, 
which was intended to be of but a few minutes' duration. 
They were now getting in the neighborhood of the extreme 
north-western limit of civilization, and were liable to come 
upon prey almost at any instant. Their encampment was on 
a broad prairie, over which they had an extended view of 
several miles. As the party seated themselves upon the grass, 
Mugalwah ascended a slight elevation and looked around in 
3very portion of the horizon. 

Away to the eastward, his keen eye detected something 
unusual, but the distance was so great that its precise identity 
could not be ascertained, even with all his wonderful acumen. 



THE RUffUCEES. 41 

Whatever the objects were, it was manifest they were ap- 
proaching, and could soon be distinguished. At length he 
made out that they were a party of women and children pro- 
gressing wearily forward. The wily Sioux more than sus- 
pected that the massacre had something to do with their pres- 
ence at this unusual hour upon the prairie. 

Ketreating into the hollow, he warned his companions by 
an ejaculation that something was in the wind, and then 
dropping upon his knees, he crept to the top of the hill and 
peered over the summit. 

The party of refugees numbered six women and eight chil- 
dren, three of whom were infants at the breast. The garments 
of the parents were soiled and torn, their hair disheveled, and 
their arms and ankles bleeding from their hurried fligkf' 
through the bushes and briers. The children were all bare- 
headed, and considerable as was their distance, the savages' 
plainly heard their cries of distress. 

The Sioux could have rushed over the prairie and swooped 
down upon the little party, if they chose ; but the American 
Indian always prefers to draw his prey into ambush, and so they 
quietly awaited the approach of the refugees. 

A tall column of smoke in the eastern horizon, that ascended 
straight into the sky, perhaps hastened the flight of the little 
party ; but it was full an hour before they approached within 
a hundred yards of where the Sioux, glaring and malignant, 
lay awaiting them. Here, as if wearied beyond endurance, 
they sunk upon the earth, and endeavored to quiet their 
children. 

One little fellow, some six or eight years of age, seemed to 
bear the fatigue better than the others ; for, instead of resting 
himself, he commenced running hither and yon, and finally 
approached the hollow which concealed the savages. Laugh- 
ing and chattering to himself, and calling to his exhausted 
companions to join him,, he suddenly halted within a dozen 
feet of the Sioux. As he saw the painted, ferocious faces 
turned toward him, he was transfixed with terror for a mo- 
ment, and then with a gasp of fear started to fly. 

The crouching Mugalwah shot like a ball from the earth, 
and catching the boy in one arm, bore him to the ground with 
the quickness of lightning. He was feeling for his knife with 



42 THE KUNTEE'S ESCArE. 

which to dispatch him, when the mother, who had seen the 
occurrence, uttered a scream of agony and rushed forward to 
the protection of her offspring. This served to distract the 
attention of Mugalwah, who released the struggling boy, and 
he and his followers arose in a group and approached the 
fugitives. 

Now ensued a scene that almost baffles description. The 
women fell upon their knees in despair, imploring that their 
children might be spared ; the latter, almost frantic with fear, 
clung to their garments and refused to be quieted ; while the 
Indians, dark and sullen, stood calmly contemplating them. 
The little fellow who had escaped the clutches of Mugalwah, 
instead of remaining with his friends, continued running over 
the prairie until he had gone several hundred yards, when he 
sat clown upon the ground and began sobbing as if his heart 
were broken. 

Beyond a doubt, the refugees would have suffered the most 
barbarous outrage, and the entire party would have been put 
to death, had it not been for an unlooked-for occurrence. 
More than one savage was toying with the handle of his 
knife, impatient for the signal from their leader, when an ex- 
clamation from one of their number turned all eyes to the 
southward. A party of horsemen were seen approaching at 
a rapid rate, as if intent on charging the savages. A quick 
motion of Mugalwah's hand, and every one of his followers 
vanished back into the hollow, and dropped upon their faces, 
where, as before, they were invisible. 

A rapid, searching glance of the Sioux, showed him that 
the cavalry were too numerous for his party to engage. Had 
his own men been mounted, he might have been tempted to a 
brush with them ; but, as it was, stratagem could only save 
them from utter annihilation. 

Stepping forward so as to confront the women, Mugalwah 
said, in his gruff, commanding voice : 

" Git up ! Ain't going to kill !" 

The kneeling women stared as if they failed to comprehend 
his meaning. He repeated his command in a louder voice 
than before, whereupon they arose and began thanking and 
calling down blessings upon his head. The chief checked 
them peremptorily. 



CONSCIENCE. 48 

" Yonder come white men — soon be here — take you wid 
'em — dey want to kill Sioux — know what I mean ?" 

The abrupt and difficult speech of the savage, together with 
the excessive fear of the fugitives, prevented their compre- 
hending his meaning. Finally one of them caught the mean- 
ing of his outstretched arm, and saw in the distance the 
approach of the horsemen. 

" Tell dem big lot Sioux down dere, (pointing behind him,) 
too many for white men to fight — tell dem we let you go — 
no hurt you — tell dem dat ?" 

" Yes, yes ; we will tell them how very kind you have been 
to us." 

" Tell dem we're twenty — good many — forty down dere, 
eh?" 

" There are not so many of you, are there ?" 

" Nebber mind — you tell dem dat — don't, Mugalwah toma- 
hawk you !" said the Sioux, making a menacing motion with 
his tomahawk. 

" You must kill me then, for I can not tell a lie, even to 
save my life." 

This heroic courage shot through and through the being of 
Mugalwah. Like a flash of lightning, conscience sprung up 
and demanded to be heard. He comprehended, in all its 
length and breadth, the wicked work upon which he had 
entered, and for a moment he wavered. The thought of the 
vows he had taken upon himself; the earnest entreaty of 
Father Eichter ; and, more than all, the offended God above, 
who, at that moment, was gazing down upon him — he thought 
of these and he wavered. But it was only a moment. With 
a mighty struggle, he sent conscience, silent and cowering, 
back to her retreat. 

The danger was becoming imminent ; he could but respect 
the firmness of the suffering fugitive, in thus braving death 
for the sake of truth. It is doubtful what would have been 
the result of this strange state of affairs, had not one of the 
other women interposed. 

" Mary, you can promise to keep silence, at least, regarding 
their numbers, can you not ?" 

" Yes ; I suppose so," she answered, hesitatingly, as if in 
doubt whether even that would be consistent. 



44 THE HUNTER'S E8CAPJ5. 

" Very well, you have promised that ; I will see to the 
other matter, then. I will tell them what you wish," she ad- 
ded, addressing the savage. 

" Tell we're good many — big too much for dem to fight !" 

" Yes, yes, of course." 

" KH1 if don't r 

Mugalwah shot backward as he spoke, and dropped flat 
upon his face, beside his companions in the hollow. Bring- 
iug his rifle to the front of him he peered over the bank, 
ready to shoot whichever of the fugitives manifested treach- 
ery ; for, had he been certain it would have insured his own 
destruction, he would have sped the bullet at her who proved 
false to him. 

The party of horsemen were under the command of Lieu- 
tenant . They had rendered good service for the last 

few days in picking up stragglers and chastising over- venture- 
some parties of savages. 

The lieutenant had detected the fugitives at some distance, 
but neither he nor any of his men knew the correct number 
of the Indians. Consequently they approached at a cautious 
pace. The experience of the cavalry in the great civil war 
had taught them to be careful of those terrible ambuscades. 
Accordingly, at a safe distance, they drew up and awaited the 
approach of the fugitives. 

The latter were not slow to avail themselves of this oppor- 
tunity. They hurried over the prairie, and in a short time 
were among the rough but kind-hearted soldiers, who took 
the women and children upon their houses until all were 
safely mounted. 

The first inquiry of the lieutenant, after emitting a mouth- 
ful of tobacco-juice, was regarding the strength and number 
of the Sioux. The women kept their rgreement with Mugal- 
wah, the conscientious Mary maintaining a strict silence, while 
the other so exaggerated that the officer suspected her percep- 
tions had been distorted by her excessive terror. As it was, 
however, he concluded the best plan of procedure was to let 
the Indians alone. 

Still, he was loth to take his departure without reconnoitr- 
ing and exchanging shots with them. Selecting six of his 
most experienced men, he galloped out upon the prairie and 



AWAmrocK's errand. 45 

began describing a circuit around the savages, keeping a sharp 
eye upon their hiding-place to discern a spot where he might 
send a piece of led " home," or gather some idea of their true 
number. 

As the lieutenant constantly changed his position, he could 
detect the moving of the tufted heads, and the black, threat- 
ening muzzles of the rifles ; and he either fancied or really did 
see more than one pair of glowing eyeballs fixed upon him 
and his party. The action of the Sioux said, in effect : " You 
let us alone, and we will let you alone ; but, if you put your 
finger on us, take care !" 

The lieutenant did not put his finger upon them, the 
principal reason for which being, that the opportunity was not 
afforded him. Neither he nor any of his party were skillful 
enough in the use of the rifle to pierce one of those dark 
spots that occasionally flitted to view, while he knew a volley 
from that hive could not fail of emptying several of his sad- 
dles. Completing the circle, Lieutenant returned to 

his party, and, striking off to the north-west, they and the 
fugitives finally disappeared from view. 

It was not until they were moving specks in the distance, 
that Mugalwah and his party arose to their feet again. By this 
time the forenoon was well advanced. The savages immedi- 
ately took up their march toward the south-east. As yet, they 
had shed no blood, and they were burning to take part in the 
fearful massacre that was then raging. 

Several miles in this direction brought them to a small 
grove of trees, through which ran a brook. Here they halted 
for the purpose of holding a short consultation and determin- 
ing their plan of proceedings. They had been here scarcely 
fifteen minutes, and the chief was busy in speaking, when 
some one was .heard to step in the brook, and, looking up, 
they all observed Christian Jim. 

A frown gathered upon their faces, for they well knew the 
errand that had brought him hither. One or two grasped 
their hatchets, in their excitement, but they waited to hear his 
words. 

It would be tedious to the reader, were we to narrate the 
particulars of the interview. Awahnock came at the sugges- 
tion of Father Richter; to see whether it were possiWe to 



48 THE hunter's escape. 

induce Mugalwah and his party to return from their errand 
of death. He had some difficulty in securing an audience, 
but they finally listened and replied to him. In answer to 
their harangues upon the oppressions and persecutions of the 
White men, he could only reply by citing the example of the 
Good Man who was upon the earth many, many long moons 
ago, and who bore all manner of persecution at the hands of 
his enemies without murmuring or resistance. He recalled to 
them the vows they had taken upon themselves, reminding 
them of their companions who had staye'd at home and re- 
mained faithful, and upon whom the Great Spirit smiled in 
pleasure, while he frowned upon them in anger. And lastly, 
he assured them that the great chief at Washington would 
certainly repay them for this violation of treaty and law. 

The debate for a time was stormy ; but the faithful Awah- 
nock was assisted by conscience, and was on the very eve of 
victory, when an ally of Satan appeared upon the scene in the 
shape of Matt Larldns, the whisky-trader. 

" Hyer's yer prime stuff! The reg'lar distilled dew of the 
mountains. It'll ile yer j'ints and make you limber as a rag. 
Shall I stop and let you imbibe, or pass on ?" 

He had his inevitable keg upon his shoulder, which he de- 
posited upon the ground as he spoke, and folding his arms 
and seating himself upon it, gazed around upon the company. 

Ah ! the fire-water, the fire-water ! When the highest 
talent, the most lofty genius, and the most solemn vows among 
civilized people are no proof against its fearful fascinations, 
what is to be expected from the poor, ignorant, degraded In- 
dian ? Is it any wonder that he bargains gun, tomahawk, 
ammunition, clothes and food to obtain the maddening 
draught ? Is it strange that he consents to be kicked, beaten, 
and subjected to all manner of abuse, for the sake of the 
" enemy that steals away his brain ?" 

Producing a tin-cup, the trader nearly filled it and passed 
it to Mugalwah. He took it greedily and drank every drop. 

" Prime stuff, that !" remarked Larkins, as he received the 
cup again. " None of yer adulterated stuff-^made it myself." 

He filled the cup again and again, and passed it around 
until every one had drank except Awahnock. The wily trader 
knew him well) and had purposely reseived offering him the 



MATT AND HIS " BEVERAGE." 47 

cup until the last one, feeling certain that he would not be 
able to resist the sight of the gurgling fluid. There was a 
mighty struggle in the breast of the Indian. He silently 
called upon his Father again and again to help him, and when 
he felt certain that he had the requisite strength, the sight of 
the fiery liquid made him tremble and doubt again. It was a 
sore trial, but he triumphed ! 

" Don't want it !" he replied, emphatically, with a shake of 
his head. 

" You ain't agoin' to tell me you intend to refuse that now, 
be you ? 'Cause if you be, I must tell you I don't believe you. 
Come, that's only half full," 

" Don't want it, I tell you," replied Awahnock, in a louder 
voice, still keeping his eye fixed upon the dangerous fluid. 

" Just take a taste ; then, if you don't like it, you can 
throw it away. That's what I says." 

Awahnock laid his hand upon his knife, and his black eyes 
flashed fire. 

" If you ax me agin — I kill yon." 

" Oh ! all right ; it don't make no difference to me, not at 
all. Do as you darn please ; that's my motto." 

" Give some more," commanded Mugalwah, in his gruff, 
peremptory manner. 

" Sartinly, sartinly ; as long as the supply don't give out, 
you're welcome to all you can swaller, and I reckon that ain't 
a very small lot, by no means." 

The cup went the rounds again. "When it came to Awah- 
nock, Larkins did not repeat his offer, for, as the matter al- 
ready stood, he did not like the glittering light of those dark 
eyes fixed upon him. The truth was, Matt Larkins came 
nigher his death that day, in September, 18G2, than he had 
ever before or since. Indian Jim more than once was on the 
point of sinking his knife in his bosom, and ridding Minnesota 
forever of one of its most dangerous pests ; but he could not 
really satisfy himself that it was his duty to take the step ; 
'consequently he kept his knife in his belt. 

The effect of Larkins' compound on the Indians was vari- 
ous. The majority of them simply made fools of themselves, 
Vhile there were several in whom it seemed to arouse the 
'most malignant portion of their dark natures. They glowered 



48 THE HUNTER'S ESCAPE. 

upon the whisky-trader and upon Awahnock as though medi- 
tating their destruction. Sad, indeed, would have been the 
fate of the hapless fugitive who at that moment fell in their 
hands. 

Mugalwah imbibed most freely, and was the first to come 
under the influence of the demon. " Want some more drink 
— good !" he said, endeavoring to fix his unsteady gaze upon 
the trader. 

" All right ; help yourself, my Lily of the Woods." 

Instead of taking the cup, the maudlin savage got upon Ms 
knees and endeavored to drink from the faucet. As might 
naturally be expected, he made poer work, and, in considera- 
ble rago, he rose to his feet again. 

" D — n fire-water !" he exclaimed. " Good for notliin'— 
smash him !'' Saying which, he brought his tomahawk with 
all the force he could summon down upon the keg. The lat- 
ter was not injured in the least, while the instrument glanced 
from his hand. Larkins laughed. 

" Try that agin' ; that ain't the first time it's been cracked 
over the head. Since the missionary smashed it, some years 
ago up in the Clearing, I've had the keg covered with double 
bands of iron, and ef you want to exercise your muscle, why 
just slam away at it." 

The next movement by one of the half-intoxicated Indians, 
was to throw a tomahawk at the whisky-trader himself— it 
narrowly missing him. 

" I ain't double-hooped!" said he, " so, I beg of you, don't 
throw them kind of missiles at me. They might do harm, you 
know, and then where would you fellows get whisky horn f 

Several others manifested the same dangerous, playful ten- 
dency toward Larkins, so that he was constrained to withdraw 
to a distance of several yards. He was used to such scenes, 
however, and he knew there was no clanger so long as he ex- 
ercised common prudence. He feared Awahnock more than 
all the others. He felt if he would only leave there would 
be no danger to himself, and nothing could prevent him from 
reaping a very remunerative price for the stuff he had jus! 
furnished the Indians. There seemed no disposition upon the 
part of Jim to take his departure, and the trader had recourse 
to stratasera to accomplish it. 



AWAHNOCK'S REPROOF. 49 

"There don't seem much chance for more speculation 
aere," he remarked, in a loud voice ; " they are pretty weli 
done for, for the present, so I'll leave. I s'pose you stay, 
Awahnock ?" 

The Sioux deigned no reply. 

" Well, good-night to you." 

With this, he lifted the keg, now nearly empty, to his 
shoulder and moved away. He cast a furtive glance at Jim, 
but he sat stolid and motionless, and there was no divining 
his emotions or intentions. His face was as expressionless aa 
stone. 

The trader passed outside the grove and again glanced back. 
To his surprise, Awahnock stood beside him 

" You bad man," said the savage. 

" Why so ?" asked Larkins, who deemed it wise not to ex- 
cite his ire. 

"Bad man— sell Injin fire-water; he go kill white folks 
now — cut dere throat." 

" Can't help that. I don't make 'em buy the whisky. If 
they don't like it, all they've got to do is to let it alone. Ain't 
that fair, Awahnock ?" 

" Fire-water bad — Injin love him — can't help drink him 
when white man offer him." 

" Well, that's his look-out — not mine. The red-man boasts 
a great deal of what he does ; strikes me he might do enough 
to master his love for lire- water, if he thinks it doesn't do him 
any good." 

" Fire-water ta.ste good — me like him." 

" And that shows your sense. Now, don't be offended, my 
fine fellow, if I ask you to join me in a swaller. Come, 
now." 

" Like to," said the Sioux, slowly, and with hesitation, as 
the trader began pouring out the liquid ; " but won't !" he ex- 
claimed, springing back a step or two and proudly bringing 
his form to its full hight. " It wicked— Awahnock not touch 
him." 

" All right ; just as you please, I says. You've no objec- 
tion to my drinking your health, I suppose ? If not, here 
goes." : 

" See yonder," continued the Sioux, pointing back in tho 



SO THE HTTNTEB'S ESCAPE. 

grove, " see what fire-water do — >dere be Mugalwah and ode* 
warriors asleep — when wake up dey want more fire-water — 
can't git 'em — what den dey take ?" 

" Don't know, I'm sure." 

" Blood — take yours if see you." 

" Sorry — shouldn't do that ; because it isn't right. Besides, 
they ought to remember Old Abe will pay 'em for such tricks." 

" And Me pay you for yours," said the Sioux with impres- 
sive solemnity, as he pointed upward. 

Sad and sorrowful, he wrapped his blanket around him, and 
turning his back upon his kindred, moved off to the north- 
west toward the Clearing. 

Waiting until he was beyond sight, the whisky-trader re- 
turned on tiptoe to the revelers. They were all sound asleep, 
and he moved among them with an assurance which showed 
he knew well enough the effect of his potations. Taking a 
blanket here, a knife there, and occasionally a handsome rifle, 
he finally satisfied his " conscience " that he had secured a 
reasonable compensation for his whisky ; and apparently in no 
wise discommoded by his extra load, he moved out upon the 
prairie, and, rather curiously, also took a direction toward the 
Clearing. 



CHAPTER V 

THE SHOT. 

"Love wakes men once a lifetime each ; 

They lift their heavy heads and look. 
And lo ! what one sweet page can teach, 

They read with joy, then shut the book ; 
And some give thank?, and some blaspheme, 

And most forget ; but either way, 
That and the child's unheeded dream, 

Is all the light of all their day." 

Ok the morning succeeding the attempt of Mugalwah to 
burn the house of the missionary, the latter was seated upon 
a large flat rock, close by a spring from which he was in the 
habit of drawing his daily supply of water. The expression 
of the £■:■:' ""'" *•"» ™m >mvp showed the most casual 



MUSINGS. 51 

observer that he was sadly troubled. It was late in the fore- 
noon, and he had been seated there for more than an hour. 

" I have now reached the allotted period of man's life," he 
mused. " Three score and ten years have bent my form and 
made my step more feeble than it was when I first came to 
this region. Forty years of this life have been spent among 
the poor red children of America. During those forty years 
I have seen many a chieftain, warrior and maid, gathered to 
their long home, and how many a dying couch have I helped 
smooth ! There's comfort in that thought. I once enter- 
tained the hope that the aboriginal race would become entirely 
evangelized. The ways of God are mysterious, and it does 
not become me to say that such is not to be ; but, ah ! my 
own people I fear have set the work backward for many a 
long year." 

He dropped his head for a few moments, and then his 
thoughts recurred to his visitor of the night before. 

" It is strange that that man should call upon me. I 
thought the trouble which occurred between us shut up for- 
ever the door of communication. It is singular this dislike I 
feel toward him, and yet it is impossible to subdue it. I should 
be loth to confess to another how much I desire his departure, 
but I really fear I shall drive him from my house when I 
return." 

Again he dropped his head in thought and again he com- 
muned with himself. 

" He tells me that it was his fear for my safety that sent 
him hither at this time ; but how did he learn that danger 
threatened me ? He belongs to the land of civilization. 
"When this outbreak was not anticipated by more than a moiety 
of the settlers, is it reasonable to suspect that those hundreds 
of miles away should have known what was coming ? I feur 
that was a deception of his. I have come here, because I can 
not bear the sight of him. I left Cora instructions to prepare 
his breakfast. I know 2" would starve to death before I would 
accept food as lie does !" added Father Eichter, emphatically, 
as he arose to his feet and made his way toward the Clearing. 

The distance was comparatively slight, and upon entering 
the cabin, he was met by Cora, with her usual smile and kiss. 

»' — Sh !" admonished the missionary, with a warning shake 



53 the huntek's escape. 

of his head, " keep a silent tongue, daughter ; it would not 4o 
for his presence to be suspected. Is he in his room ?" 

" He is gone !" 

" What ?" asked the good man in surprise, as he enteral 
and took a seat. " He has not left us ?" 

" He took his departure a few minutes after you went out." 

" I forbade him to stir out until night." 

" He said such were your words, but your manner told him 
to go instantly. He seemed much offended at something you 
had said, and his last words were to the effect that you would 
some day regret this." 

" I wonder whether he has no regrets for that matter of 
several years ago. You know, daughter, that your father is 
not the man to wish any one ill, but I can not help saying it is 
a great relief to find him gone. My only trouble is that he 
may be seen by some of the Warriors — H ea ven ! save us !" 

The report of a rifle but a short distance away in the woods 
caused this exclamation, ancl both father and daughter stepped 
'o the door and looked around on the Clearing, as if they ex- 
pected to see the explanation of the shot. Ordinarily the 
report of a gun would have occasioned no remark ; but now, 
when their apprehension was excited, both connected it with 
Roderick Charnley, and Father Richter, simultaneously with 
the discharge of the gun, felt a sharp twinge of conscience at 
the manner in which he treated the young man. 

" I trust Roderick is not injured," he said, " but he is 
encompassed by perils, and should have remained here until 
nightfall, as I directed. We can pray for him, at aDy rate." 

The two sunk upon their knees, and it may be that Father 
Richter's petition was somewhat more fervent, because he 
could not avoid the reflection that he was concerned in the 
safety of the young man, who a short time before had left his 
house, ancl gone forth in the wilderness, where many and 
many a long mile intervened between him and any point in 
which he could feel immunity from personal danger. 

The missionary passed out in his garden and busied himself, 
as was his custom, in attending to its duties, while Cora, for a 
time, occupied herself in her household obligations. These 
completed, she sauntered forth across the Clearing, taking the 
same direction as that pursued by her father in the morning. 



CORA AT THE SPUING. 53 

Arriving at the spring, she slaked her thirst, and then seated 
herself upon the rock. 

It was but natural that the events that had occupied her 
father's mind should engage hers also. She wondered why 
his dislike to Roderick Ckarnley should be so strong, and 
what it was he had said that should send him off in opposi- 
tion to his strict commands. She then, with a trembling 
heart, asked herself whether he had been shot down by one 
of the Sioux warriors, or whether he was still seeking to 
make his way through the labyrinth of dangers that had encom- 
passed him. It was but a sisterly affection that she enter- 
tained for him, and she, like her parent, wished that he had 
not come at all. 

She was still sitting upon the rock, when her heart was 
set a-throbbing by the second report of a rifle, so near that 
she instinctively gazed behind her, certain of discovering the 
cause of it. The spring was immediately surrounded by 
shrubbery, while dense woods stretched away on every hand. 
She saw nothing, however, to explain the meaning of the re- 
port, and endeavored to convince herself that it was simply 
one of the Sioux warriors engaged in hunting. 

From some cause or other, the girl began to experience a 
feeling of uneasiness, as though some vague and unseen peril 
was at hand — and she caught herself more than once casting 
furtive glances around, as if half expecting its approach. 

While in this nervous, apprehensive state of mind, Cora 
suddenly heard the rustling of leaves, and the next moment 
Roderick Ckarnley came running at the top of his speed 
across the path. His hat was gone, and he was panting as 
though almost exhausted. He trailed his rifle in his right 
hand and continually looked backward, as if pursued by some 
foe. 

Cora's eyes were still fixed upon his movements with a sort 
of fascination that seemingly would not be overcome, when 
she observed him suddenly halt, bring his rifle to his shoulder, 
and discharge it almost instantly. A ringing yell proved that 
its effect had been as fatal as the marksman could have 
wished. 

Standing where he had halted, Roderick Charnley com- 
menced reloading his gun with all rapidity possible. His 



54 THE HUNTER'S ESCAPE. 

manner showed that he did not' judge himself free from 
danger. Still, there were no signs of any pursuer, and, gaz- 
ing about him in every direction, his eyes suddenly rested 
upon Cora, sitting by the spring. 

" Why, how came you here ?" he suddenly asked, with a 
half-smile, as he approached and seated himself, keeping a 
sharp look-out as he did so for the appearance of an enemy. 

" I frequently come here when the weather is pleasant," 
said the girl, " and have spent many an hour upon this rock ; 
but have you been injured ?" 

" Not in the least, although two of the red villains took a 
dead aim at me." 

" And you have just slain one ?" 

" Unfortunately, but one. How thankful I should be if 
they had only been accommodating enough to have got 
themselves in range at the time I pulled trigger." 

" And where is the other Indian now?" 

lL That's what I am very anxious to know," returned Rod- 
erick, raising his head, and glancing uneasily around him. 
" He disappeared some distance back, and when I got this 
fellow far enough away from him to make it a safe thing, I 
just turned and gave him the compliments of my gun." 

" He is likely to appear at any moment, then ?" 

" Yes, I really suppose he is ; but it struck me from his 
manner that he gave up the hunt and left his companion to 
keep it up himself. It strikes me he has given it up, also." 

" Roderick, this jesting is unseemly over such a solemn 
matter. You have narrowly escaped death yourself, and have 
just taken the life of a human being — " 

" Was it not iustiflable ?" 

" It was, I suppose, but the levity you display is not justi- 
fiable." 

Cora Richter, with no companion since infancy, except her 
father, had imbibed, in a great measure, his mind, so to speak. 
He had graduated brilliantly at college, and had carried his 
library to his wilderness-home with him. It had been twice 
burned, and he had as often replenished it. The contents of 
this library were almost as familiar to the daughter as to the 
father. Their situation was such that there was necessarily 
a great deal of leisure time upon their hands. This the 



THE HUNTER AND THE SIOUX. 55 

missionary delighted to employ in the instruction of his 
beloved child, and she, being naturally bright and clear- 
minded, fully rewarded the labors thus bestowed upon her. 
Civilized society could boast of few better-educated daughters 
than her, although there might be many of more refined and 
courtly manners. 

Occupying somewhat, of the same position as her father, 
that is, of teacher and guide to the rude, ignorant people 
around her, she unconsciously acquired, at times, a manner 
plainly intimating superiority upon her own part and border- 
ing upon the dictatorial in her communication with those of 
her own kindred. Isolated as was her position in the ex- 
treme north-west of Minnesota, seldom a season had passed 
for the last dozen years, in which their cabin had not been 
visited by hunters, travelers and others. On one occasion 
only had Cora Richter seen a white person of her own sex in 
these wilds. A party of travelers once passed through that 
section, one of whom had his wife and daughter with him. 
They remained one night at their house, and it was a memor- 
able occasion to the girl. Since then she had visited St. Paul 
and one or two other places, where she was placed for a time 
in communication with young friends. Roderick Charnley 
was an old acquaintance, and she met him upon such terms. 

" Yes," she continued, " I think such lightness altogether 
out of place. But tell me how it was you escaped." 

" I hardly know myself; it must have been because the 
Sioux were bad marksmen. Shortly after leaving your home, 
I seated myself upon a fallen tree, to meditate awhile on the 
best thing to be done, when crack went a gun, and whiz went 
the bullet within an inch or two of my face. I sprung up as 
I saw a couple of your valiant red-men had determined upon 
getting my scalp, beyond a doubt. As it was pretty certain 
there was another gun to be discharged, and they could both 
beat me at running. I hurried behind a tree for shelter. That 
was all well enough for a while, but it happened they under- 
stood their business better than I did. So long as they both 
kept in front of tie, it didn't matter; but they separated and 
began to maneuver iight away, so that one might get behind 
me, when you wi 1 ! allow it would have been a very difficult 
matter to have divlged both their rifles. I stood it as long 



56 the HUNTER'S ESCAPE. 

as I could ; but, it was plain enough what it was coming to, 
so I broke and ran — " 

" For our house ?" 

" Ko, ma'am ; I would have been shot down first. I broko 
and ran so as to get out of their reach. From some cause 
that I can't understand, only one of them followed me — you 
know the rest." 

" Do you think this vicinity a safe place for you ?" 

" I think no place is this side of St. Paul. This is not the 
first Indian nor the first Sioux that has fallen by my hand, and 
I have no doubt Little Crow would be very glad to obtain my 
nead." 

"You can go north into Hudson's Bay Territory, where you 
i.re safe from every tribe." 

"I know that; but I don't feel disposed to go on British 
soil for safelj-." 

" I can not say you arc welcome with us, for you know 
father wishes you away ; but he was much surprised and very 
uneasy when he returned and found you gone. He could not 
rist until he had offered up a prayer for your safety." 

" I thank him for that ; but should have thanked him still 
more if he had not driven me from his home !" 

" Roderick !" interrupted Cora, with a quiet indignation, 
" speak not in that manner. You have known for years that 
he entertained no good opinion of you, yet, when he was 
really convinced that your life was in danger, was lie not 
anxious to keep you concealed from these people until all 
danger had passed ? And, whether you thank him or your 
Heavenly Father, it seems his prayer was answered." 

" It was, indeed," returned the hunter, in a subdued voice ; 
" but, Cora, is not this dislike which he entertains toward me 
unjust ? Have I done any thing to merit it ?" 

" "Whether you have or not, I can not say, as I have never 
known all the circumstances. You must settle the matter 
with your own conscience. But I am certain that my dear 
father could form no opinion upon any thing unless he had 
good grounds for doing so. He has never told me what oc- 
curred between you and him, and I suppose it will 
remain a secret." 

" It was nothing, Cora, but — " 



THE HUNTER AND THE MAIDEN. 57 

" What "he has refused to reveal of his own free will, I do 
not desire to hear," interrupted the girl, with a dignity thai 
made Roderick Charnley ashamed of himself, and filled him 
with admiration for her who had uttered it. " If you call it 
a trivial thing, it is surely not worth the relating." 

The hunter was silent for a while. Finally he spoke : 

" Cora, it is three years since we last saw each other, I be- 
lieve, is it not ?" 

" I think it is, although I have never calculated the time." 

" And have you never once thought of me during that 
time ?" 

The girl turned upon the man as though she did not under- 
stand him. 

" Have I never once thought of you ? What do you mean, 
Roderick, by asking such a question ?" 

" I mean as I speak. Have I been absent from your mind 
all the time since we met in Missouri, two years ago ?" 

" Well, no," replied Cora., with a slight blush ; " there are 
very few people whom I have met that I do not think of 
afterward. Our meeting has been called to mind several 
times." 

" With feelings of pleasure, or regret ?" 

" Regret." 

" I am sorry. I am sure nothing occurred between us." 

" Between you and my father there is a secret, which, if 
not known to me, does not concern me the less. All differ- 
ences between you and him must be regarded as between you 
and me." 

" But, Cora," plead the hunter, fervently. " There is a mat- 
ter, trifling in itself, that stands between your father and me. 
It is trifling, I assure you ; you will not let me tell you what 
it is, and yet you place me outside the ban of friendship — " 

" You are mistaken ; I do not." 

" It is just the same ; you entertain his suspicion and mis- 
trust." 

"I have already told you,, Roderick, that there must bo 
grounds for whatever feelings ho holds against you. Until 
he chooses to explain the matter to me, I must keep the same 
opinon as he." 

There was silence for a few moments, and then, fearing 



68 



THE HUNTER'S ESCAPE. 



she had spoken too strongly to the hunter by her side, Cor& 
turned toward him, and said, in a low voice : 

" You must not feel hurt at what I have said. This matter 
epeaking truly, is a bar between us, but it does not prevent 
me from entertaining the best of feelings toward you. I wish 
you all good fortune, and when the time comes, if ever it 
■does, for explaining this mystery, I trust that the strongest 
friendship will spring up between you and father." 

" I fear not — I fear not ; but I thank you for your words, 
You know your father is a man of very strong feelings, and 
when he becomes set in a belief, it is hard to change." 

" Truth, I think, will do it, nevertheless," said Cora, with an 
arch, meaning look toward Eoderick Charnley. 

" That should have done it, then, long ago." 

She shook her head incredulously. 

" Have you not read that time will do justice to all ? You 
asked whether I had called you to mind since we become ac 
quainted in St. Louis. May I ask you whether the interview 
ever came before you, during the past three yenrs ?" 

Ah ! that was a question Eoderick Charnley delighted to 
answer. Accordingly, he hastened to make reply : 

" I doubt whether a day has passed in which I have not 
thought of you. And again and again have I wished (oh ! 
how ardently) that that interview might be repeated. Had I 
known your father better, had I known myself better, this 
unhappy difference had never occurred." 

" You seem enthusiastic over it !" 

" I am not enthusiastic, but earnest ; and you will believe 
that I am truthful when I tell you that more than half of 
those two years has been spent in the wilderness of the North- 
west." 

It was Cora's turn to be astonished, and as she turned her 
face upon the hunter it expressed her amazement stronger 
than mere words could have done. 

1 " Yes, such is the truth. Winter before last, I remained 
with a party of hunters in the mountains just beyond you. 
They visited the Clearing several times, as you remember, 
no doubt, while I stayed behind, over by the brook, awaiting 
their return." 

" And why did they never speak of you ?" 



love's folly. {& 

" Because they were enjoined not to do so. I spent the 
entire winter with them, for no other reason than to be near 
you." 

" How foolish !" 

" No doubt it was ; but I am frank to confess it. I saw 
you many and many a time when you little suspected my 
proximity. And most of the present summer has been spont 
in Minnesota." 

" Not in this neighborhood, truly ?" 

" Not many miles from here. If you examine the ground 
near that tree yonder, you will find a hollow worn by my 
feet while standing and watching you." 

" What a fool ! if I must speak plainly." 

Roderick laughed, and continued : 

" I have stood there many and many an hour, as you sat 
upon this rock, reading or knitting. I have watched 
the play of the expression upon your face as you were thus 
engaged ; and, when you started homeward, I kept my eyes 
fixed upon your form as far as it was visible. I have even 
followed you to the edge of the Clearing, and seen you enter 
the house." 

" And I never once thinking of you." 

" I suppose not. Last summer, when your people were 
friendly toward us, did not Mugalwah give you an ac- 
count of several excursions he made with a hunter some 
miles to the north, by the side of a small lake ?" 

" I remember very well bis speaking to my father about it ; 
but he called him — let me think — Walton, no, Waltham, some 
such name as that." 

"You do not think I would give my own name, Roderick 
Charnley, to him, to bring down to your father ? I was that 
hunter, and well known to most of the Sioux in the village 
yonder." 

" But you know they are now engaged against the wliltes, 
and tbey would not be friendly toward you, even." 

" Have I not had sufficient proof of that ? I am pretty 
certain that the one who fired at me, and the one whom I 
fired at, knew me very well." 

" Can it be ? What surprise your narrative has caused me,' 
Roderick. You have spent the greater part of three years in 



60 THJ5 HUNTER'S ESCAPE. 

this wild country. You gave up all the comforts of civiliza- 
tion and of home for — " 

" For the purpose of being near you — content all the while 
if I only saw you, without even exchanging a single word 
with you." 

" It is unaccountable to me." 

" I did it all, Cora," said the hunter, unconsciously lowering 
his voice, " because I could have no peace away from you. I 
went home several times and endeavored to forget it all in 
the care and whirl of business ; I went as a private in the 
three months' volunteers ; but, on my return home, it seemed 
the feeling was stronger than ever within me." 

" If you saw me alone so frequently, why did you not speak 
to me and make yourself known?" 

" Because, it would have displeased your father to know 
that I met you by stealth. I resolved to come openly, or not 
come at all." 

" Why then did you wait so long ?" 

;l Xo sufficient pretext offered, until I learned that the great 
massacre had begun along the frontier. I believed then that 
I might venture to meet your father ; but, even that was not 
a good excuse in his mind for my introducing myself." 

" Could he have known that that alone was the reason, do 
you suppose you could have been unwelcome ? You have 
avowed the real truth to me, and it may be that my father 
has had sufficient penetration to discover it for himself." 

" I suspected that he saw through me, when he opened the 
door and I stood before him." 

" That has been it, undoubtedly, and why should you fee) 
aggrieved when he acts according to his belief?" 

" I suppose I should not, although it did touch me." 

" The forenoon is now getting quite advanced, and he must 
expect my return. "We have had quite an extended conver- 
sation." 

" Before you go, allow me to say one thing, Cora." 

She had arisen, but awaited his words. 

" You believe all that I have told you ?" 

" Certainly, Roderick, why should I disbelieve you ?" 

" Are you not convinced that my feeling toward you is of 
the purest nature ; that my love — " 



A MURDEROUS SHOT. 61 

Roderick Charnley uttered a sharp exclamation, threw up 
his arms and rolled backward from the rock, before Cora was 
fairly conscious that the deep silence of the woods had been 
broken by the crack of a Sioux rifle ! 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE DEPARTURE. 

Their counsels might be hard to reconcile, 
They might not rait the moment or the spot ; 

She rose and laid her work aside the while, 
Down in the sunshine of that grassy plot : 

She looked upon him with an almost smile, 
And held to him a hand that faltered not ; 

One moment— bird and brook went warbling on : 

And the wind sighed again, and he was gone. 

Jean Ingelow. 

The report of the rifle, the smothered exclamation and 
fall of the young hunter, were so sudden and so nearly simul- 
taneous, that Cora for a moment failed to realize what had 
occurred. Then, as she noted the struggling form of Roderick 
Charnley, that a few seconds before was so instinct with life 
and animation, a deathly heart-sickness came over her, and 
reeling like an intoxicated person, she sunk to the earth. 

In this half-unconscious condition she did not lose her cog- 
nizance of events passing around. She did not fail to hear 
the exultant shout of the murderous Indian, nor his eager, tri- 
umphant tread as he hurried forward to tear the reeking 
trophy from the head of his victim. Scarcely a dozen feet 
behind him strode the wrathful missionary, who, with a brow 
of thunder, caught the Sioux by the shoulder, and flung him 
Dackward. 

" Wretch ! is that the lesson I have taught thee ?" he 
demanded, centering his burning gaze upon the cowering 
savage. " Lend a hand and help undo this foul murder !" 

The Indian stood irresolute, and the baleful glitter of hia 
snakish eyes, and the twitching of his grasp upon the buck- 
horn handle of his knife, showed that he was yet by no means 
subdued. Father Richter noted it, and fixing his keen, metal- 



C2 



T-HJU HUKTKll B ESCA1*J£. 



like blue eyes upon those of the savage, he repeated, in Ms 
slow, impressive tones : 

" This man is yet living and may be saved. Help me carry 
him to the house, and may the Lord pardon you for this day's 
work. Come, lose no time, assist me here !" 

The Sioux stepped forward, obedient as a child, and the 
two lifted the form of Roderick Charnley from the ground. He 
had ceased to struggle, his face was of ashy paleness, and the 
left side of his chest was covered with blood. Cora bavin" 
fully recovered, walked beside them to the edge of the Clearing. 
She observed the cautious manner of her father, and when he 
halted still in the wood, she understood the cause. "Wo 
must not be seen by any one," said he. " Run ahead, daughter, 
and learn whether there be any one in the house, or near 
enough for us to be observed when we approach it. Should 
there be any one, you must manage to get him away without 
delay." 

Cora hurried across the Clearing, and pushed open the door 
of their humble home. To her dismay, she found an elderly 
Indian woman seated in it, awaiting the approach of her father. 
The girl could not forbear a start and suppressed exclama- 
tion as she observed the squaw, quietly smoking her pipe. 

" Did I frighten you V queried the latter, using the Sioux 
tongue. 

" You did a little, aunty, for I was not expecting to find 
any one. How long have you been here ?" 

" A good hour. I have searched for the Father but can 
not find him. Know you where he is gone ?" 

" I suppose he is in the woods ; he goes there frequently, 
you know." 

" Yes ; but it is almost time for him to eat, and he can not 
remain much longer away. I think I will remain here until 
he returns." 

" Perhaps you would do better by coming after dinner. 
He sometimes remains a good while in the woods." 

"But, I am not hurried ; I can wait for him. I am sorely 
troubled. Mugalwah led away Auquanon and Summuman 
with him to the southward, and I know not that they will 
come back to me. I wish him to ask the Good Spirit to 
watch over them." 



TJII3 HUNTER "WOUNDED. 63 

The two savages mentioned by the woman were her sons. 
As they had gone to participate in the massacre, she was 
naturally anxious concerning them. In her trouble, she came 
to the missionary. The consciousness that the young hunter 
was most probably dying, made Cora exceedingly nervous. 

" But, aunty, you must pray for them yourself." 

" Can't pray so good as Father can. The Great Spirit likes 
to hear him pray, and will listen to what he says." 

" He did all lie could to prevent Auquanon and Summumaa 
from going. If they disobey him and run into danger, I do 
not know as he ought to pray for them." 

This remark, without any intention upon the part of her 
who uttered it, accomplished the very result for which Cora 
was so ardently hoping. The squaw ejected very spitefully a 
mouthful of tobacco smoke, and arose from her seat, in a 
pique, to leave. 

" Come again, aunty," said Cora ; " Father will be glad to 
talk with you." 

The Indian said nothing, but departed at a rapid pace. The 
young woman held her hand over her throbbing heart for a 
few moments, and then hurried across the Clearing, glancing 
furtively behind her to make sure that she was not observed. 

The hunter lay upon the ground, pale and weak, nigh unto 
death. The missionary had bandaged his wound, and the 
Indian stood a silent observer. Within reach of Father Rich- 
ter's voice and eye he was as docile as could be desired. 

" Is all ready ?" inquired the former, in a whisper. 

" Yes ; there was one present, but she has gone." 

" Precede us, and see that no one comes up unobserved." 

Slowly and carefully they bore him across the Clearing, 
into the cabin, and upon the bed. Then turning to the savage, 
Father Richter said : 

" Your hand has already done enough evil ; seek to atone 
for it, by asking forgiveness for what you have done, and by 
saying nothing to any one of what has occurred. Do you 
promise?" 

The Sioux signified as much by an inclination of the head. 

" Then, do not forget it." 

The long residence of the missionary among the Indiana 
had taught him a knowledge of the medicinal qualities of, 



64 THE HUNTER'S ESCAPE. 

numerous herbs. In a short time, he had his charge as com- 
fortable as possible. He found his wound, though dangerous, 
not necessarily mortal. Strict quiet and good nursing as. 
sisted by a naturally vigorous constitution, most probably 
■would place him upon his feet again in a short time. First 
satisfying himself that nothing more could be done for his 
patient, he partially closed the door and motioned for Cora to 
seat herself beside him. Placing his hand affectionately upon 
her head, he spoke in subdued tones as if fearful that other 
ears might hear what he had to say. 

" My daughter, there has been more than one severe trial 
for me to undergo during the past day or two." 

" I know you have suffered a great deal, but you • have 
learned resignation long ago, have you not ?" 

" I humbly trust so ; but, there is one cup which I pray 
may pass from me." 

" Tell me what it is, dear father." 

" I was wondering some time ago at your protracted ab- 
sence, and set out in quest of you. I turned my steps toward 
the spring, and there discovered you in conversation with 
Roderick Charnley, the last man I hoped to see in this 
vicinity. You told me this morning that he had departed. 
Did you believe such to be the case ?" 

The pale, silent, reproachful face, the round, full, wonder- 
ing eye and quivering lip, went to the heart of the parent. 
Drawing the head upon his lap, he said : 

" God and you forgive me for once in my life suspecting 
your truthfulness, Cora ; but, you do not know bow I have 
Buffered. Did lie then mean to deceive me ?" 

" I am sure he did not." And, thereupon, the daughter pro- 
ceeded to give an account of the adventure that had befallen 
the hunter that forenoon, as related by himself, omitting, as a 
matter of course, the remaining important information that 
he had vouchsafed. 

" I am greatly relieved, for I could not avoid troublous 
thoughts when I saw you in such familiar converse. You 
knew my feeling toward him, and it was not possible you 
could use deception toward me." 

" It can not be that you ever thought so." 

" That was a treacherous act of the Indian, and a meet 



THE SQUAW AND HER ERRAND. 65 

narrow escape for Charnley. I wonder much that lie ever 
lived a moment after it." 

" I think he repents the deed." 

" I have no doubt of it. Should he betray the secret, I 
fear there will be little probability of our cabin standing an- 
other hour. The feelings of the Sioux are very much excited, 
and did they suspect we harbored any of the whites, it is 
doubtful if they spare us." 

" It will be quite a venturesome task for us to screen him 
from them for any length of time. Suppose he should become- 
delirious ?" 

" Not the slightest possibility. It need not be a difficult 
task. On Sunday afternoons we shall always have visitors, 
but you can remain m the room at such times, so that what 
little noise may necessarily be made shall be attributed to your 
agency. Remember one thing, Cora, he is my patient. I at- 
tend to him, except at such times as it is absolutely impossible. 
I wish you to entertain no conversation With him, and I charge 
you particularly to remember one thing : you are never to 
allow the least reference upon his part to this — this — differ- 
ence — this secret, that exists between us." 

" He offered to narrate the whole story to me, but I told 
him that when I learned it, it should be from your lips." 

" That is right ; have patience, and you shall hear it all, 
some day. It is now time for dinner." 

The father passed within the room, while the daughter bu- 
sied herself in the preparation of the meal. The patient was 
found quiet, and so far as possible, comfortable. As Father 
Richter seated himself, he glanced toward the door with a 
smile : 

" Suppose we have a visitor ?" 

" I declare ! How thoughtless 1" 

It was well he closed the door, for scarce five minutes had 
elapsed before the squaw whom Cora had offended made her 
appearance. She was very anxious that the missionary should 
pray for the safety of her two sons, who, at that moment 
were undoubtedly clenching their fingers in some captive's) 
hair. The good man did not hesitate to denounce their con- 
duct in the strongest terms. He said he would gladly pray 
that their hearts might be changed ; but as for their safety, he 



66 the hunter's escape. 

did not care. In fact, he intimated it would be rather pleag. 
ing to him than otherwise to hear that both had been pretty 
well riddled by the rifle-balls of some party of whites. Mu- 
galwah, especially, needed some such harsh medicine, before 
he could be really reformed. 

This plain language offended the mother a second time, and 
she left, muttering some unintelligible threats against the pre- 
sumptuous missionary and his daughter. Both were used to 
such eccentric conduct, and it occasioned neither any uneasi- 
ness. 

As Father Richter had hinted, he took entire charge of the 
patient. The latter recovered with a rapidity that was as 
surprising to himself as to the missionary. He saw Cora only 
at rare intervals, and he was too wise, on such occasions, to 
revive the subject that had been so peremptorily interrupted 
by the rifle-ball. The Indian who had sent this deathly mes- 
senger seemed truly repentant of the deed. Despite the ad- 
monition of the missionary, he would steal up to the door and 
inquire regarding him. Yfhen he learned that he was recoy- 
ering, his dark face lit up with a pleased expression. Thus 
far he had kept faith with his promise of secrecy. 

About a week after the shooting of Roderick, Father Rich- 
ter was sitting near his door, one sunset, conversing with Cora, 
when both caught a footstep at the same time. Looking up, 
to their surprise they saw the famous Sioux chieftain, Little 
Crow, approaching. He looked weary, worn, and dispirited, 
and merely nodding, he dropped into a seat, and for a moment 
said not a word. 

" I am hungry and tired ; I have come a long way." 

Cora instantly busied herself in providing him something 
to eat. Xoting his distaste for conversation, Father Richter 
forbore to question him until he had finished his meal, when 
he became quite talkative. It proved as the missionary had 
shrewdly suspected. Little Crow's forces had been defeated, 
and he himself was a fugitive from justice. Still, he was not 
fleeing ignominiously to save his life. Sullen and revengeful, 
he and his brother chiefs, Young Six, Big Eagle's brother, and 
others, had scattered themselves over Minnesota, for the pur- 
pose of arousing the other Indians to hostility. The chief 
was far-sighted enough to understand that their power must 



LITTLE: CBOW. C7 

be ultimately broken, but he recked not, so that he was ena- 
bled to inflict some murderous blows ere the unwieldy arm of 
the Government could be brought into effectual play against 
hirn. 

" Do you know what has become of Mugalwah and his 
party ?" inquired the missionary. 

" His band have been scattered by Colonel Marshall, part 
of them killed, and he is a prisoner." 

" What will become of him ?" 

" Hung up by the neck till dead." 

" I pity him ; but his fate was merited. I warned him and 
ill of them before they went. The retribution of the Gov- 
ernment may be slow, but it is sure, especially where Indians 
ire concerned." 

" They have not caught us all." 

" But they will secure enough to break the power of your 
Iribe. I am amazed, Little Crow, that a chief of your mind 
ind knowledge should have begun such a war, when you 
jould but have known what the inevitable consequence must 
be. I'll warrant you, Other Day has had too much sense to 
join you." 

" It was not willingly that I went into the war ; I was 
3ompelled to, and now, when I have taken up the hatchet, I 
nhall not be base enough to desert my men." 

" You, I believe, led the attack upon New Ulm, where 
Judge Flardreau commanded ?" 

" Yes ; I led the assault upon Fort Ridgley also, where the 
Great Spirit turned aside a cannon-ball that touched my heart." 

" The Great Spirit showed his displeasure with what you 
did, by protecting all the posts against which you directed 
your attacks, did he not ?" 

Little Crow became silent and uncommunicative, and shortly 
after took his departure. Father Richter suspected the object 
of his visit was to arouse more of the warriors of his village 
to assist him, but perhaps the respect the chieftain bore to- 
ward him prevented any such effort, for he took a direct route 
toward the Red River of the North, and was never seen in 
that vicinity again. 

As we have already intimated, the recovery of the young 
hunter was rapid ; and on the afternoon that Father Richter 



68 THE HTJNTEtl'S ESCAPE. 

and Little Crow sat conversing together, he stood beside the 
foot of his bed, feeling almost as strong and -well as ever. 
There was pain, as a matter of course, when his wound was 
disturbed, but care would prevent the necessity of disturbing it. 

Though taciturn and quiet, the man had meditated a great 
deal during the last few days. He had learned unmistakably 
that his absence was desired, and he resolved that, as soon as 
able, he should take his departure, and never darken the door 
again. He knew that Father Richter would prevent any such 
thing did he suspect his intention, and he resolved, accordingly 
to leave at night. 

As the afternoon wore slowly away, the hunter found him- 
self longing for a sight of Cora. He felt if he could only 
exchange a word with her, he could leave with resignation. 
It was hard indeed to leave her forever, as he believed it 
should be, without exchanging farewells with her. 

The Fates, however, were not propitious. As the night 
settled down upon the wilderness and Clearing, he could hear 
her voice in conversation with her fa'ther, but she did not 
make her appearance in his room, and finally, at a late hour, 
she retired, without so much as exchanging a good-night 
with him. 

More than once he feared he should have to give over his 
project until the succeeding night, as the missionary could be 
heard moving around the room until a very late hour ; but 
at length all became still, and the deep, regular breathing of 
the good man showed that he was wrapped in that deep, 
sweet slumber which a clear conscience and vigorous bodily 
health invariably give their possessor. 

He judged it to be beyond midnight when he stealthily 
opened the door of his room and passed into the larger apart- 
ment, generally occupied through the day. Since his presence, 
the corner of this had been occupied by Father Richter, who 
preferred it to sleeping aloft. He stepped with the utmost 
care, and felt his way, for he had no desire to awaken either 
of those he was to leave behind him. 

The hunter passed through the ordeal in safety, and placed 
his hand upon the door. He had simply to raise the latch, 
for such a thing as locks were unknown in that primitive 
community. As he opened the door, the Clearing appeared 



FKENCH LEAVE. 69 

almost as distinct, under the bright moon, as if it was mid- 
day. He had little fear of any one stirring at that hour, and 
strode boldly across the open space into the shadow of the 
wood beyond. 

As he glanced back, he was confident he saw some one 
enter the door of the cabin he had just left ; but, reflecting 
that it could have nothing to do with his welfare, he moved on. 

Not until this moment had he called to mind the course he 
was to pursue after leaving the Clearing. He had a settled 
determination of bidding farewell to the missionary and his 
daughter, and of never returning again ; but, where was he 
to go? The first answer to this question naturally was, 
" Home !" But the young man could not bring himself to 
that point. Strong as was his resolve to sweep from his 
memory the fair vision that had crossed it, still it was a diffi- 
cult matter to determine to return to civilization and remain 
there. He had done that already, and found it insupportable. 

At the time the rifle of the Sioux had brought him low, 
there was a question upon his lips — a question to Cora which 
he would fain have answered before yielding her up ; but cir- 
cumstances had prevented. Was his resolution of that nature 
that he could answer it for himself in an unfavorable manner ? 
Had he not really overestimated the strength of his own 
character ? 

These and similar thoughts made his steps tardy and doubt- 
ful. He debated with himself a long time, and finally re- 
solved that he should have a decisive answer from Cora Rich- 
ter which should determine his course. Since he had taken 
this means of departure, he could not now return, nor would 
he dare to present himself before the missionary without some 
plausible excuse other than the true one. 

The unsettled condition of the country lying between him 
and civilization was an ample pretext for deferring his passage 
through it. He had no liking toward remaining in this vicin- 
ity through the winter, which in this elevated region, would be 
excessively severe. He had never yet attempted to brave its 
fury alone, and it was too great a task for him to attempt, es- 
pecially when he could not feel an absolute certainty regard- 
ing the result of his unhealed wound. 

He now decided to go directly to the Selkirk settlement 



70 THE HUNTER'S ESCAPE. 

upon Red river and remain until spring opened, when he 
would manage to have a meeting with the missionary's daugh- 
ter. This course fully determined, he experienced considerable 
relief, as any one does when he has solved some perplexing 
anxiety. 

The hunter deemed it best to make directly for the river, 
which was but a few miles away. Following this in its course 
tc the north into the British Possessions, he could not fail to 
reach the Red river settlement, where he might domicil him- 
self among friends for as long a period as he chose. His 
present purpose was simply to reach the bank and remain 
there until daylight before pursuing his journey further. 

The roar of the stream was audible during the night-hours 
at .the Clearing; and the hunter reached it sooner than he an- 
ticipated. He judged it to be well toward morning; but, in 
reality, he had sadly miscalculated the time, for it was not a 
half-hour beyond midnight. 

The Red river, at the particular point where he struck it, 
was quite broad and deep. As he reached its border, he 
gazed up and down the bank and across the stream in quest 
of a suitable camping-place. The time, the condition of his 
mind and the surroundings were such as to induce the most 
impressive meditation. The sky filled with fleecy clouds, 
that flitted over the face of the moon and made weird phan- 
toms upon stream and wood, the hollow, monotonous roar of 
the river, the solemn sound of the night-wind through the 
forest, and the excessive loneliness of the scene — all these 
conspired to arrest the thoughts of the young hunter, to im- 
press him with a sense of vastness and sublimity, and to turn 
his heart to the sleepless Being above whose eye alone at that 
moment was fixed upon him. 

Standing in this abstract manner, almost unconscious of 
his surroundings, his eye was arrested by some object a few 
feet above him, and upon examining it more critically he was 
astonished to observe that it was an Indian canoe, pulled just 
far eDOugh up on the bank to prevent its being carried away 
by the current. 

It was singular that with the discovery of this, there came 
a feeling of insecurity ; and, instead of encamping, he resolved 
to press on without delay* As yet he was no great ways 



THE ISLAOT). 71 

from tlie Clearing, raid it might possibly be that some vincLc- 
tive Sioux would be on his trail at daylight. 

Why not take possession of the canoe ? The thought was 
no sooner presented than it was acted upon. The paddle was 
resting within it, as if the owner had left with the expecta- 
tion of returning very shortly. Roderick cast a quick, search- 
ing glance about him as he stepped into it and pushed out in the 
stream. The current he found jnore rapid than he had anti- 
cipated, and it required all of his skill i manage the egg-like 
concern. 

In the center of the river, the cano- became unmanageable, 
and in spite of all the hunter could • vo, he ran upon an island 
near the center, where, in absolute »;ar of his own safety, he 
sprung out, and without thinking auowed the boat to float off 
down-stream. When he noticed this blunder it was too late 
to prevent it, and, somewhat crestfallen, he turned to see what 
could be done in the way of an encampment until morning. 

The island proved more favorable than could be expected. 
It was of the usual oval shape, some dozen rods in length and 
from a few inches to fifteen or twenty feet in breadth. There 
Was no vegetation upon it — in fact nothing but a large quan- 
tity of drift-wood, that had been accumulating in all probabil- 
ity for years. In some places, it was as dry as tinder for a 
depth of a foot or more. By making a sort of trough-like 
hollow, and spreading his blanket in it, he secured quite a 
comfortable resting-place for the night. 

Just in the border land of unconsciousness — neither asleep 
nor awake — was it fancy or reality that sounded as if some 
body had struck the solid portion of the island ? Was it fancy 
or reality that appeared as if a person or animal was walking- 
backward and forward ? And could it be fancy, too, that 
bore such a marvelous resemblance to human voices ? 

The hunter listened for a moment, and then stealthily raised 
his head. There was a canoe resting upon the upper end of 
the island, and two men were walking slowly along the edge 
of the water. One of them bore something upon Lis hack, 
tfiat resembled a cask or keg. 



73 THE HUNTER'S ESCAPE. 



CHAPTER VII. 

AN ORIGINAL IDEA. 

Oh, Time and Death ! with certain pace, 

Though still unequal, hurrying oh, 
O'erturning, in your awful race, 

The cot, the palace, and the throne. — Sands. 

A second glance assured the hunter that the two strangers 
■were white men, and consequently friends. There could be 
no mistaking the rear man who bore the keg upon his shoul- 
der. 

" Is that you, Matt Larkins ?" 

The man addressed paused and looked around him. 

" Didn't some'ne call me, Jini ?" 

" Yes ; I heard it, but where did it come from, I say ?" 

At this juncture, Roderick Ckarnley arose to his feet. Both 
saw him instantly. 

" That's you, Larkins, isn't it ?" he repeated, still standing 
where he had arisen. 

" That's the name I generally go by in Minnesota, but who 
might be you V" 

" I am Roderick Charnley ; I have met you at Fort Ridg 
ley, and New Ulm during the past summer." 

" I recollect ; how do you do ? how do you do ? If that 
ain't what they call a providence, then I should like to know 
what it is. Here is Jim Wilkins with me, who has been 
searching for you for the last three weeks, and hasn't been 
able so much as to see a person that had heerd tell of you; 
and just when we'd made up our mind Little Crow, Little 
Six, or some of the other chiefs had disposed of you, here we 
gets track of you clown in the Clearing." 

" When were you there ?" 

" It occurred to me that there might be some attractions 
for you in that place, and consequently we struck a line for 
it, I humbly endeavoring to pay my expenses by selling whisky 
along the way. When we knocked up the old man, he was 
kind of backward at first, and wouldn't say much till we told 
him our errand, and he became satisfied we wan't trying to 



IMPORTANT BUSINESS. '4 

hoodwink him. He finally said you had been hurt bad, and 
he was nursing you ; you was getting along pretty rapid-like, 
howsomever ; so he thought it might do for us to see you. 
He struck a light, and went into a little room, and it would 
have done you good if you could have seen him, when he 
found you wasn't there. He didn't know what to say for a 
while, but he looked terribly frightened. He told us at last 
that you had gone, he knew not where. As our business was 
very important, we didn't stay till morning as he invited us 
to do, but came on across the Clearing toward the Red river ; 
and, as luck would have it, or perhaps providence, we have 
struck the very island where you had hung up for the night. 
This is Jim Wilkins with me." 

During this narration, the young hunter had been filled 
with the utmost amazement. What possible business these 
' two men could have with him passed his comprehension ; 
yet their manner showed that it was of the last impor- 
tance. 

" "What is the business that has sent you upon such a long 
hunt after me ?" he inquired. 

" Boo ! it's chilly ! Let's have a fire before we talk upon 
business. It'll take some time to finish." 

" But will it be safe ?" queried Charnley. " There is noth- 
ing to prevent it being seen a long way, and I have reason to 
: suspect that there are Sioux in the neighborhood." 

" How so ?" 

" I found one of their canoes on the bank and crossed to 
this island in it." 
'■■. " I didn't notice the boat ; where is it ?" 

" I was foolish enough to let it float away after landing. A 
fire built here would be very conspicuous." 

" Fudge ! not a bit of danger. This is just the stuff to 
make a right down pleasant fire to sit and talk by." 
■ A spot was brushed away and a heap of dry drift-wood 
speedily gathered. In a few moments this was ignited and 
burning cheerily. The cold night-wind blowing down the 
river rendered the air keen and cutting, and the warmth of the 
fire was very grateful. The depth of the drift-wood rendered 
it necessary to make a sort of hollow, such as would natur- 
ally be formed in building a fire in the snow. By reclining 



74 THE hunter's escape. 

upon the ground, all of the person, except the head, was pro- 
tected from the wind. 

Important as the business of the two men might be, they 
hesitated a great while about communicating it. Jim "Wil- 
kins was a tall, thin-visaged man, very reticent. Indeed, as 
yet, he had not spoken a single word, and the hunter more 
than once glanced at him, half suspecting he was deaf and 
dumb ; but the emission of several very audible grunts placed 
the matter beyond question. 

" Before telling you exactly what our business is," said the 
whisky-trader, " I want to ask you several questions, wnich 
I hope you'll answer, won't you ?" 

" If they are proper I certainly shall." 

" In the first place, it's quite cold, and let's all three take a 
swallow of something to warm us inside." 

The hunter declined, but the two imbibed quite freely. 

" Now," said Larkins, as he proceeded to light his pipe, 
"you've hearn tell of these massacres that have been go in' on 
for the last month or so, of course." 

" Yes, I went to the Clearing and warned Father Kichter 
of his danger." 

" You did ? I thought all the time that it was something 
else that called you there. Wal, the row is pretty well stopped 
for the present. Judge Flandreau gave Little Crow a taste of 
powder down at New TOm, and the detachments of United 
States forces in different places are beginning to move. There's 
trouble yet, and if you intend to go down toward the Agency, 
I'd advise you to keep a mighty sharp look-out for Sioux. 
But that ain't exactly what I'm coming at. I want to ax you 
which party you think most to blame ?" 

The suddeness of this question rather took the hunter aback, 
and he made no reply until it was repeated. 

" Both parties are in fault ; the Indians unquestionably 
have been wrongly used by Government agents and traders 
and their suffering has goaded them to this outbreak." 

" You think so, do you ?" asked the trader, with a curious 
expression, giving at the same time a sharp, inquiring look 
into the face of Charnley. 

" Those are my views, precisely." 

" Wal, I'm sorry, that's all." 



THE MYSTERIOUS PACKET. ").. 

" And why are you sorry ?" 

" Because, if you were all right — that is — but hold on — 
you know I've been in the whisky-trading business for a num- 
ber of year, and I have — well — done pretty well." 

" I have no doubt of it." 

" Are you 'quainted with the way the Indian agents out 
here manage affairs — in short, the way they make their pile ?" 

" I've no doubt there is a good deal of cheating about it, 
for their salaries certainly are not sufficient to make them rich 
very speedily." 

" I was once a conductor on a railroad in Connecticut.- 1 
was new at the business, he ! he ! he ! and went too bungling- 
like at it. As soon as I understood the ropes, I began to get 
rich a little too fast. The employers noticed it, and let me 
slide. I ought to've held in till I got enough to retire on, but 
I did not think of that. But an Indian agent don't have to 
be so careful. You see it's generally considered we've the 
right to shave these poor coppery rascals when we've the 
chance ; but you don't seem to take to that way of thinking ?" 

" Most assuredly I do not." 

" You don't believe after you'd been at it a year, you might 
begin to like the idee of getting rich faster than the heads of 
government intend ? Are you right sure no such idee would 
ever enter your head ?" 

The hunter was not only puzzled but indignant at the pre- 
sumptuous manner of these insulting questions. He demanded 
the meaning of this course of procedure. "Wilkins grunted 
and the trader laughed. 

" You know what my idee of these Indians — especially the 
Sioux — is. The only thing they're fit for is to afford us tho 
means of making a decent living." 

" What is your business with me ?" demanded Charnley. 

" Fetch it out, Jim," said Larkins, with a meaning look. 

The long-bodied, ret'eent man arose to a sitting position, 
and reaching his right arm under his left, drew forth a large 
folded paper with a heavy seal upon it. The seal was un- 
broken, and the hunter saw his own name written in large 
characters upon it. He stretched forth his hand to take it. 
The man, in the very act of handing it, drew it back with 
a wild clutch, and fell forward, stone-dead, ere his twti 



76 



THE HUNTER'S ESCAPE. 



companions were fairly conscious that a couple of rifles had 
been discharged from the shore. 

Perfect silence for a moment succeeded this terrible inter- 
ruption. Then, as the survivors appreciated what had really 
occurred, the hunter whispered : 

" The Indians have come ! We must get out of this place, 
if we wish to escape his fate." 

" 'Sh ! don't move !" admonished the trader, rising on his 
hands and peering over the drift-wood. He gazed very in- 
tently for a moment, and then added, as he lowered himself 
on his face again : 

" I don't see any thing of them, and it must be there are 
only two, and we've no reason to fear them. Don't raise your 
head, for the fire will show it, and them villains know how 
to use their guns." 

A few moments later, the rippling of water was heard. 
The trader raised his head again. 

" They're coming, a whole pack of 'em, sure enough 
We've got to leave, now. 'Sh ! don't rise to your feet. Crawl 
a ways, and then run." 

They had taken but a step or two, when Larkins uttered an 
exclamation of dismay. 

" The canoe is gone ; we must make a swim for it." 

In the bright moonlight the two men were visible to the 
Sioux, who commenced discharging their pieces. This flus- 
tered both. Reaching the lower end of the island, the whisky- 
trader sprung in the chilling waters and swam down-stream 
with all his might. 

Charnley still ran to and fro at a loss what to do. He had 
rushed into the water, but before he got beyond his depth, he 
recalled that he was unable to swim, and in a desperate despait 
he retreated to land again. 

The canoe by this time had passed half the space inter- 
vening between the island and shore, although, what was 
rather singular, considering it was propelled by Indians, it 
moved very slowly. They had ceased discharging their guns, 
manifestly from an absolute certainty of capturing both of the 
men. 

The tormenting anxiety of the hunter was to escape from 
the Hand. He felt as though there was a chance for life, if 



a swra FOR LIFE. 77 

be could only secure a foothold somewhere else ; but, on this 
narrow, circumscribed space, it was nothing less than being 
in a prison. 

Why not float away by means of a 'piece of drift- wood ? 
The thought flashed like lightning upon Mm. He did not 
stay to reflect that with the canoe at their command, he was 
quite as much if not more at their mercy, in the water as out 
of it ; but, catching up a small tree-trunk that was as dry as 
tinder, he made his way out in the river, and in a moment 
was borne rapidly downward by the current. 

Although mindful of the flight of both of these men, the 
canoe still headed toward the island, as if more desirous of 
reaching that than of capturing them. Landing upon this, 
some six or eight in number, they proceeded to the camp-fire, 
where they made two discoveries that brought shouts of ex- 
ultation from each throat. The first was the dead body of 
Wilkins, lying upon its face, and the second, the keg of 
whisky. When they snuffed at the latter and ascertained that 
it really contained ardent spirits, their delight seemed un- 
bounded. They danced and shouted, pushed the body of the 
poor, unconscious Wilkins hither and thither, and finally 
rolled it into the river. Having finished this extemporized 
demonstration, they turned their attention to the "fire-water." 

In the mean time Larkins had made his way down-stream, 
swimming with all the power he could command. He con- 
stantly glanced backward to ascertain whether he was pur- 
sued, until he suddenly became conscious that his strength 
had so failed him that he could not keep afloat five minutes 
longer. 

At this critical moment, when the dreadful thought that 
his last moment had come almost paralyzed him, one of his 
feet struck bottom, and, to his inexpressible joy, he found he 
was in four-feet water. At the same time, he descried di- 
rectly ahead of him, an island almost precisely similar to the 
one he had just left. He was so exhausted that he felt he 
must have rest, if he were certain the Sioux would be upon 
him in ten minutes. Carefully approaching the shore, pant- 
ing and tremulous, he seated himself and looked up-stream. 

The figures of the Indians were dimly discernible as they 
passed back and forth before the fire, and their boisterous 



?8 THE HTTHTER'S ESCAPE. 

hilarity proved to Larkins the discovery of the keg. " That 
same cask has helped me more than once," he muttered, " and 
it may he it's going to do me a turn now. There's enough 
in it to set them all crazy — hello ! is that you, Charnley ? 
Drop your feet and come in to shore." 

The piece of wood upon which the hunter was floating 
was drifting past, when the trader called to him in a cautious 
undertone. Obeying his injunction, he made his way without 
much difficulty to his side. 

" "Why didn't you foller me ? I s'posed, of course, you 
were right behind me." 

" I did follow you for a few steps, when I recollected I 
wasn't able to swim, and I had to go back again." 

" Whew ! that was it, eh ? You ought to have learned to 
swim when you was a boy, the same as I did ; though I 
can't say as I am any thing extra at swimming, for I give out 
afore I got to this spot. Just hear 'em yell ! They've got 
hold of the keg, sure, and '11 be on the rampage in a few 
minutes." 

" Your friend is done for, poor fellow !" 

" Yes ; he didn't draw five breaths after that bullet passed 
through his head. I s'pose I was somewhat to blame for 
kindling that fire, though, if he hadn't riz up to hand you 
that paper — There ! that reminds me, for the first time, 
we've left that paper behind us !" 

" Sure enough ! so we have ; and you said it was important 
to me." 

" Important to you ? It is of the greatest importance in- 
deed." 

" While we are resting here, explain this matter to me." 

The trader shook his head- 

" If you'd have talked different I'd have told you all about 
it, and opened a good chance for a spec ; but you didn't take." 

" What of that ? Let me hear what it is." 

" There's no use o' talking ; I shan't "tell you a thing. If 
you can find that paper you'll l'arn for yourself; if you don't 
find it, go down to St. Paul, and maybe you'll hear something 
of it." 

The hunter looked fixedly at the man beside him. Although 
both had just escaped death almost together, he could but 



A BRIEF RESPITE. 79 

feel the utmost loathing toward him. His words for the last 
half-hour had convinced him that he was one of those men 
that are a curse to the aboriginal race — that he was one of 
the prime causes of this terrible outbreak among the Indians 
of the North-west. The tendency of imminent danger is to 
bring persons into closer intimacy, and to make friends of 
enemies ; but it was just the opposite in this case. Could he 
be assured of immunity from danger among the savages, he 
would prefer their society infinitely above his ; and although 
many selfish motives united to urge him to remain, still he 
resolved, upon the first opportunity of separating honorably, 
that is, without the appearance of deserting him in his extre- 
mity, to embrace it, and bid him farewell forever. 

But what possibly could be the meaning of the " business " 
to which he had made so frequent reference, and which he 
professed to have been the actuating cause in bringing him 
and Wilkins into this corner of Minnesota, at a time, too, 
when it was the very region of death ? Why did he so per- 
sistently refuse to reveal it ? Could the plea that he enter- 
tained wrong views regarding the moral aspect of the Indian 
question be the genuine one ?' What remote result could 
Roderick Charnley's private opinion bear to that ? 

Such and similar were the unanswered questions proposed 
by the young hunter to himself. Happen what might, he had 
made up his mind to say nothing further regarding it to the 
man beside him. But, both were excessively weary, and al- 
though, under the present circumstances, their first thought 
should have been to escape from the island to the land, yet, 
both made their condition as bearable as it was possible to 
make it, by nestling down in the driftwood in quest of slumber. 

Their wet, chilling clothes for a time drove away all sleep, 
and the Sioux upon the island above began to become up- 
roarious in their revelry. Exhausted nature finally gave way, 
and almost at the same moment, the two passed off into the 
land of dreams. 

The hunter was the first to awaken, his disturbance arising 
from a foreign cause. He was nearer 1o the upper end of the 
island, and for this reason was aroused by a dull thump, fol- 
lowed by a rippling sound. Baising his head, he observed 
that day was breaking, and that the keg of Matt Larkins had 



BO 



THE HUNTER'S ESCAPE. 



floated down and lodged upon the upper end of the island. 
Some whim prompted Charnley to arise and bring it out of 
reach of the current. As he did so, he observed the trader 
was astir. 

" Well, Charnley, this is the infernalest piece of nonsense 
we have ever been guilty of." 

" To what do you refer?" 

" Why, our cuddling down upon this spot, when we might 
have got ashore, and been miles away by this time. Hello ! 
you've saved my whisky-keg — I'm glad of that. Any thine 
in it r 

" Xothing, although it feels heavy enough to be full." 

" That's the iron hoops around it. It's made splendid, and 
I'm glad to git it agin, if they did steal the contents. I hope 
it's made 'em all dead drunk; no, I'll be hanged if it has ; 
yender's two, three, moving around this minute, and I wouldn't 
be afeard to take my oath one of 'em is Little Crow. Down 
with you ! — they haven't noticed us yet." 

Both made themselves, to all intents and purposes, invisible, 
each, however, keeping up an unremitting watch upon the 
movements of their enemies- above. Three of the latter 
walked to the beach with such steadiness as to certify that 
none of the effects of the " fire-water " lingered in their brains. 
Their next move was to push off the canoe and start down- 
stream, one of the Indians standing erect, the better to guide 
the frail vessel. 

The two whites upon the island were now certain that an 
attempt was to be made to take them, and they were in no 
little anxiety about it. The whisky-trader still having his 
gun with him, possessed enough dry powder to make it serv- 
iceable ; but the hunter's piece was in the bottom of Red 
river. When he ventured forth with the log of wood, he 
took it with him, but it was missing when he reached the 
island, and he judged it had fallen during his frantic struggles 
to keep afloat. He still had his revolver — one of those valu- 
able weapons that can be carried beneath the water without 
having their charges affected ; so, after all, perhaps he was 
bettei armed than his companion. 

" Keep cool !" admonished the latter, giving evidence, at 
the same time, that he was by far the most frightened. 



THE WHIZ OT A BULLET 81 

(: Maybe they haven't seen us, after all ; but if they intend 
to land here there'll be a row. You haven't got your gun ?" 
" No, it is lost ; but my six-shooter will be handy in a 
pinch." 

" Don't fire it unless they come right upon us." 
" It might be a good thing, Larkins, if you should be a 
little more chary in your advice. I shall always act as I 
deem best." 

In the mean time, the canoe with its three inmates came 
dancing swiftly downward. Whether the three Sioux sus- 
pected the presence of the men upon the island or not, they 
soon saw every thing was not right, and the one holding the 
paddle (whom the trader affirmed to be no other than Little 
Crow) sheered the boat off to the right, so as to avoid the 
exact point where they noted the suspicious signs. 

As they passed about twenty feet distant from the island, 
their grim, paint-bedaubed faces and glowing eyes were fixed 
upon the spot where the two men were crouching, with such 
intense fixedness that neither durst raise his liead. The rip- 
pling of the paddle revealed where they had passed, and the 
trader carefully raised his head a few inches, to obtain a 
glimpse. It seemed his head had scarcely ascended an inch, 
when a rifle was discharged from the canoe, and the whisky- 
trader's head dropped with such suddenness that for a few 
seconds the hunter believed he had been shot. But, twisting 
his neck around, so as to make his countenance visible, he 
gave one of those forced grins that told more plainly than a 
wail or groan the intense suffering of the soul. 

" It passed so close it made me blink, and I can hear the 
whiz yet." 

" Where are they ?" 

" Look for yourself." 

Charnley did so, and saw that the canoe had passed far be- 
low the island, and was making for the shore. Two of the 
Sioux were so seated that they faced him, and consequently 
were enabled to observe every movement of his or the trader's. 
He disclosed his head and shoulders to learn whether they 
would discharge their guns at that distance. He saw one of 
them raise his piece, and, after holding it aloft a moment, 
lower it, as though he judged the aim too uncertain. 



u * THE ITDNTEB'S ESCATE. 

Observing Ms immunity, the trader again raised his head, 
although it was with considerable trepidation. He saw the 
canoe strike the bank, the three Sioux step out and seat them- 
selves upon a large, flat rock. 

"Do you understand the meaning of that?" asked Larkins, 
with the same displeasing grin. 

" I don't attach any particular meaning at all to it." 

" If you look up above you on the island, you'll see the 
heads and arms of the rest of them Sioux. They're done 
for until to-night. Them three have managed to keep pretty 
sober, and they've gone and sot down there, and are going to 
wait for us to come into their hands, the same as you or I 
would sit down beside a wood-chuck's hole till he came 
out," 

Such, beyond a doubt, was the intention of the Indians, 
and Roderick felt that he would be safe in the assertion that 
no two men had been as foolish as he and the trader had 
been the night before, and no two poor, unfortunate individu- 
als had had their enemies take more complete advantage of 
them. 

" I must examine that whisky-keg," said Larkins, picking it 
up, and seating himself upon the ground with it in his lap. 
" I hope there's a drop or two in it with which I may solace 
myself; no, I'll be shot if it isn't all gone ! Wal, I might 
as well throw it out in the sea, for it isn't any more use to 
me." 

About an hour later, the same keg might have been seen 
floating down the river. The Sioux were still seated like 
Stoics upon the shore, and could not fail to observe it. One 
of them pointed it out to his companions, and sent a bullet 
through it, more for amusement than any thing else. 

The cask went on drifting down-stream, until a bend in the 
river hid it from view, when it began gradually to edge into 
shore. When still some distance from the land, it suddenly 
was lifted out of the water by the shoulders of a man, who 
had begun to walk on the bottom. It was then shoved still 
further upward, and revealed the face of Matt Larkins, the 
whiaky-trader, who looked furtively about him a moment, and 
then sat down with a genuine smile upon his face. 

" Bless the old keg, it has done me more than one good 



LAEKIN8' DEPARTURE. S3 

turn," he muttered. " When I knocked both ends out and 
used it for a hat, I was doubtful whether it would do or not ; 
but it has brought me through safe, for all that bullet passed 
nearly as close to my head as the other one did !" 



CHAPTER VIII. 

A SINGULAR ESCAPE. 

Speed, Malise, speed! such cause of haste 
Thine active sinews never braced. — Scott. 

The idea of eluding the watchfulness of the Indians by 
means of the cask first occurred to the young hunter. It was 
greedily seized upon by Matt Larkins, who had begun to give 
way to despair. After great difficulty they managed to stave 
in both ends, when the trader ventured into the stream with 
it. He was shrewd enough to keep the island between him- 
self and the vigilant Sioux until he was fairly out in the river, 
when he turned his whole attention to the matter of keeping 
afloat, knowing well enough the current would absolutely 
carry him beyond all danger. 

The first impulse of Larkins was to make his escape known 
to the Indians. He had formed such a dislike to the hunter 
since he had ascertained he was really an upright and honor- 
able man, that he would have rejoiced at his capture ; but, he 
did not see how this could be accomplished without compro- 
mising his own safety. One of these fleet-footed savages 
could run him down in a twinkling, and no doubt would 
gladly do it. He was reluctantly compelled to give over the 
plan, and, still thoughtful and scheming, he made his way 
deeper into the woods. 

Charnley had witnessed the departure of this man with a 
feeling of relief. The fact that while the preparations for 
departure were going on, he never once referred to the escape 
of the hunter, caring nothing when, how, or, in fact, whether 
it was accomplished at all, filled him with more intense dislike 
than ever toward him. Could he have been assured of a safe 



Si THE HATER'S ESCAPE. 

passage down the river by forcing Ms head into the cask be- 
side him, he -would have drawn back as from a serpent. 
No ; he rejoiced a thousand times that he had seen the last of 
him. 

Still the hunter could but watch the progress of the cask 
with considerable interest. He started when one of the Sioux 
discharged his gun, and he was certain the ruse was discovered; 
Dut, as it kept the quiet tenor of its way, he rather rejoiced 
than otherwise that the trader had escaped the bullet, and 
that he finally disappeared around the bend in the river. 

Realizing that he was now really alone, he turned his atten- 
tion to his own circumstances. Singular as it may seem, the 
uppermost thought in his mind was regarding the paper, 
which had been left with the dead Wilkins upon the island, 
Had he known that the body had been cast into the river, it 
is probable he would have given over all hopes of obtaining 
it ; but he had formed the resolve to secure it, if there were 
any possible means of doing so. 

How to accomplish this was the all-important question. 
The Indians upon the island above were still in a beastly 
stupor, and for some time to come would be no better than 
so many dead men. Consequently, in making his calculations, 
it would be safe to leave them out altogether. 

But, there sat the three sleepless Sioux, with their lynx- 
eyed vision centered upon the island ; and, so long as daylight 
lasted, very little could be attempted with any degree of 
safety. Their failure to make an open attack was simply be- 
cause they deemed it inexpedient. They numbered but three, 
while they supposed their expected prey to consist of two 
fully-armed whites. Before night the remaining Sioux would 
be in a condition to lend assistance. They could afford to 
wait, if they should hold out until nightfall. 

More than once it occurred to the hunter that the water 
intervening between the two islands might possibly be ford- 
able. If such were really the case, he felt confident of both 
securing the coveted paper, and of making his final escape. 
The Sioux not suspecting any such move, and they being 
some distance away, it would be no difficult matter to keep 
his body so concealed as to elude them altogether, in cast 
the depth admitted snch a journey. 



AN ATTEMPT AND A FAILURE. 85 

A few minutes' consideration ended in a conclusion to make 
the attempt. Creeping forth on his hands and knees, he en- 
tered the water, and swam in the fashion generally adopted by 
young school-boys, that is, by placing the hands upon the bot- 
tom, so as to support the body, and using the legs. As the 
increasing depth forbade this, he took a stooping position. 
When he judged half the distance was passed, the water was 
only to his arm-pits. A rod increased it to his neck, and he 
now began to move with extreme caution, for the rapid cur- 
rent made it a work of great difficulty to keep upon his feet. 

The heart of the hunter was already throbbing with the 
sanguine hope of accomplishing his purpose, when he ob- 
served one of the Indians ahead of him rise to a sitting 
position and gaze stupidly around. It was utterly out of the 
question for the savage to take note of any thing around, and 
he almost immediately lay down again, in as profound a stu- 
por as before. 

Charniey, however, under the fear of catching his eye, in- 
stantly lowered his head. At the same time he was carried 
entirely otf his feet, and barely saved himself from drowning. 
When he recovered control of his movements, he had been 
forced almost back to the lower island. Somewhat discom- 
fited at the result of the experiment, he made his way back 
to the very spot he had left a few moments before. Here he 
sat clown to meditate upon the best course to adopt. 

There was manifestly but two things to be attempted, and 
one of these had already proved itself almost as good as 
hopeless. He might strive to reach the island, always bearing 
in mind that there was nothing at all to fear from those upon 
it. Could this be safely reached, after securing the paper it 
would be no difficult matter to conceal himself until the de- 
parture of the entire party. Not suspecting his presence in 
this place, it was not likely that a search would be made. 

After all, the wisest course seemed to order a repetition of 
his experiments, and he again stepped into the water. As 
he did so, he glanced back and saw that the three Sioux had 
embarked in the canoe, and were coming up-stream. It need 
scarcely be said the hunter lost no time in getting back into 
the hollow which he had left, and that he watched this de- 
monstration with no little anxietv. 



SO THE HUNTER'S ESCAPE. 

This proceeding looked very much as though they had be- 
gun to suspect some ruse had been played upon them ; and 
such, indeed, was the case. They had a fear that the whisky- 
keg had assisted both to safety, and this voyage up-stream was 
for the purpose of reconnoitering and ascertaining the facts in 
the case. 

Skillful as were these aborigines in the use of the paddle, 
the current of the Red river, at this portion of its course, 
was so rapid that their progress was difficult and tardy, 
However, if they came slowly it was surely, and in due time 
they were abreast of the island. The hindmost Sioux now 
took charge of the canoe, while the other two, with their 
rifles in hand, surveyed the spot where they knew a couple 
of white men had been. He who was there carefully kept his 
head out of sight, seeking to judge of the exact location of 
his enemies by the sound of the paddle. He noted its pro- 
gress as it ascended foot by foot, and finally rounded the 
upper end. Here they maintained a stationary position for 
some time, and Charnley was convinced they meditated a 
"charge" upon his defenses. Under these circumstances he 
had resort to a stratagem that was eminently successful. 

He first managed to gain a tolerably correct idea of their 
location without exposing himself. Then placing his re- 
volver over the edge of the hollow, he discharged one barrel, 
and instantly shifting his hand a few inches to the left, fired 
the other barrel. This satisfied the Indians that two men 
with guns were still nestled there, although it did not give 
them a very exalted idea of their marksmanship, as neither of 
the three was injured. Their reconnoissance they judged to 
be successful, and returned down-stream to their old posi- 
tion. 

Matters had now assumed such a phase that Charnley be- 
gan to realize his imminent personal danger, and he concen- 
trated his thoughts upon the one single idea of effecting his 
escape. However desirable it might be to obtain possession 
of the paper, this one project must now take precedence of 
all others. 

The hunter did not fail to ask the assistance of his merciful 
Father. Then for twenty minutes he devoted himself to the 
moat intense exercise of his mind. At the end of that time, 



A BRILLIANT THOUGHT, 87 

he struck his hand upon his knee, and Ms face flushed up 
with a joyful expression. 

" I have it ! and it's a good idea, if it did originate with me." 

The excitement produced by the discovery of the plan was 
such that he was unable for some time to act with coolness 
and decision. He was certain there coukl be no miscarriage, 
and it took time and effort for him to tone himself down. 

The island, as we have already intimated, was literally 
covered with drift-wood, most of which was dry as tinder. 
The hunter's first movement was to search among this until 
he found a small, straight stick with large pith in it. He 
was very particular in this respect, and when he had suc- 
ceeded, he then cut the ends square off, making it about a foot 
and a half in length. His next step was to fashion a rod 
with which he forced the pith from the inside. He drove 
this rod backward and forward, and blew through the open- 
ing until not a vestige of the pith remained. As if to make 
assurance doubly sure, he inhaled his breath through it, and 
drew up a swallow or two of water ; then, perfectly satisfied, 
he laid it carefully clown, his joyous countenance testifying how 
sanguine he was of the result. 

The next proceeding was to secure some six or eight large 
limbs, each of sufficient size of itself to float him in the water. 
Selecting one that suited his fancy, he set it apart, and began 
operations with the others. 

The largest was tossed into the water so that it would float 
clear of the island. It had gone scarcely a rod when it 
caught the eye of the Sioux, and two of them at once put 
out from the shore to intercept it. They approached the sus- 
picious object with great caution, paddling around it several 
times ; but they finally pounced upon it, and discovered no- 
thing upon which to hang the shadow of a suspicion. 

Roderick smiled grimly as he noted these movements. 
His mental programme was being carried out to the letter. 

The canoe remained in the current awhile, and then passed 
in to shore again. It had but just reached there,when a second 
log was descried upon the surface. As before the canoe shot 
out, and it was pushed hither and yon by the paddle of the 
Sioux until they were convinced there was no attempt at de- 
ception, when they slowly made their w T ay back again. 



OO THE HUNTER'S ESCAPE. 

Thus far there was no break in the programme ! 

Some ten minutes' respite were allowed the savages,when a 
third object, similar to the other two, made its appearance. 
They watched it a short time, and then made their way out 
into the stream ; but it would not have required an experi- 
enced eye to discover that there was much less eagerness in 
their movements than at first. They approached it, and 
merely striking it with the paddle, made their retreat again. 

" Thus far," muttered the exultant hunter, " every thing 
goes ' swimmingly.' " 

Quite an interval elapsed before the fourth log was 
launched, but it did not fail to attract notice, and receive a 
reluctant visit. 

All of which was what Charnley had confidently counted 
upon in perfecting his scheme. 

The fifth log passed the lower end of the island when the 
sun was in the meridian. The Sioux . had disembarked, and 
were seated upon the shore. They could not fail to observe 
it, but they made no move toward intercepting it. 

" Thank God !" exclaimed the hunter, from his very soul. 

During the intervals elapsing between the starting of these 
several pieces, the hunter had employed himself in a manner 
that would have seemed strange to a casual observer. The 
reed which he had whittled and hollowed out he managed to 
secure to one of the large limbs, the end upon one side pro- 
jecting only a few inches beyond, while it extended nearly a 
foot upon the other. With this he had passed- out in the 
water several times and experimented, matters after a while 
assuming a most satisfactory aspect. 

The time for trial had now come. Dragging the limb in 
question a rod or two above the island, he passed out toward 
shore so as to avoid striking it in his passage down-stream. 

Then placing the end of the reed in his mouth, he sunk 
carefully down beneath the water, holding on to the lower 
part of the limb with both hands, and gave himself to the 
control of the current. 

The Sioux, sitting upon the shore, descried another stick 
floating down-stream, and one of them passed out in the 
canoe to examine it. While still a few rods away, he ob- 
served it to be the same as the others, save perhaps that it 



THE HUNTER S STRATAGEM. 8D 

seemed a little water-soaked, and floated quite low in the 
water. That, however, was a very natural occurrence, and 
he returned to his companions, wondering, perhaps, why it was 
that the whites had resorted to the singular practice of shov- 
ing the drift-wood off the island. 

In the mean time, Roderick was making fine progress be- 
neath the surface of the river. The limb to which he had 
intrusted his fortune was of cedar wood, and had been origi- 
nally covered with numerous small branches, the stumps cf 
which were grasped by' his hands, while he allowed his feet 
to float of themselves. When abreast of the upper portion 
of the island, the water became so shallow that his back 
grazed the bottom, and he feared he should be checked alto- 
gether ; but he soon swung into deeper water, and progressed 
as before. 

The hunter soon became sensible of a great oversight upon 
his part. He had intended to fill his ears and nostrils with 
bits of his clothes, to keep out, the water ; but the matter had 
been entirely forgotten until he was disagreeably reminded of 
it beneath the surface. The rushing in his ears, and the 
effort it required to avoid drawing the water through the nose, 
were so disagreeable that he dropped his feet with the inten- 
tion of returning and remedying the matter. To his surprise 
he failed to reach bottom, and, drawing his feet up, went on. 

A person under the water has a very poor opportunity of 
judging of the progress and passage of time ; but Charnley 
had fortified himself against the mistake of rising too soon. 
He held the reed firmly between his teeth, drawing deep and 
regular breaths of air, and calculating, as near as possible, 
when he was opposite the Sioux. When he judged he had 
reached this point, he looked to the right and left. The 
water appeared of a dull yellow color, and he discovered no- 
thing. This fluid is such a good conductor of sound that he 
did really hear the dip of the paddle, and thus assured him- 
self very nearly of the locality of his enemies. 

Some ten minutes later his situation became so unpleasant 
that he was meditating upon bringing his head to the surface, 
When he struck the river bottom with such force that the reed 
was forced from his mouth, and he was obliged to rise to keep 
himself from strangling. 



v{} THE HUNTER'S ESCAPE. 

Had the attention of the Sioux been turned in the diree. 
tion, they could not have failed to observe the head as it shot 
upward ; but, fortunately, they had dismissed all thoughts of 
the floating objects from their mind, and were lazily casting 
their eyes, at intervals, toward the island, to see that no strat- 
agem of the whites should be allowed to hoodwink them. 
They were meditating moving up abreast of it to detect any 
such movement ; but, as this was attended with some disad- 
vantage to themselves, they still remained in their old posi- 
tion. Were they to station themselves opposite the island, it 
was barely possible that a skillful swimmer might make his 
way to the other shore, his only care being to keep the island 
itself between him and his enemies. As it was now, they 
could detect any such movement at once. Larkins and 
Charnley had baffled them, by proceeding directly up the 
river, thus securing themselves from observation, until the 
water reached their armpits, when they launched forth 
boldly. 

The hunter kept as low in the water as possible, so that no 
furtive glance of the Sioux should discover him, until he had 
passed the same bend in the river that concealed the whisky- 
trader's advent upon the land. He then struck out vigorously 
for the shore, and reached it at a point about two hundred 
yards below where his predecessor had landed. 

In such a high latitude as Minnesota, the cold, during the 
winter months, it is well known, is exceedingly severe. When 
the winter sets in its fierceness is terrible ; but, its summers are 
among the most delightful of any climate. It was fortunate 
for the two individuals of whom we have been writing that 
the mildness continued so far into September, else their seve- 
ral immersions in the Red River of the North might have 
proved almost as uncomfortable to them as the well-aimed 
bullets of the Sioux. 

As it was, the submersive passage of Charnley was a much 
finer thing to read about than to make. The chilling clasp 
of the water, the cold rush of the current, the oppressive hum 
that seemed to penetrate his very brain, the hurried breathing, 
the painful smarting of the eyes, and the stinging feeling in 
the nose, together with a sensation as if he was really dying 
after all, more terrible in itself than all the others combined; 



THE SIOUX OUTWITTED. 91 

these were some of the accomplishments of that never-to-be- 
forgotten journey. 

As for the ■whisky-trader, we doubt whether any of our 
readers have the least concern about his emotions, and there- 
fore we shall not take the space to narrate them. 

The sensation of the hunter was any thing but comfortable 
when he stepped upon dry land. He was compelled to hop 
about awhile on each foot, to get the water irom his ears, the 
liquid, in the mean time, flying from his garments, in much 
the same manner as from a clog when shaking himself; then, 
there was that feeling in the nose more unpleasant than all, 
which required time alone to displace. 

He looked pitifully down at his draggling clothes, and 
asked himself what was best to do. He always carried a 
match-safe with him, and it would have required but a short 
time to start a fire ; but it would have taken a much longer 
time to dry his garments ; and during that precious interval 
the Sioux upon the upper island might recover from their de- 
bauch, and dissipate all chance of obtaining the paper. 

In addition to this he was becoming ravenously hungry, 
and a troublesome pain manifested itself in his wound. A 
strong will, however, could stave off this, and make the other 
bearable for a long time. But did he forget his first resolve 
in regard to the document ? No ; he resolved the paper must 
be secured before the bodily wants were heeded. 

There was but one course for him to pursue, and that was 
to go to a point above the unconscious Sioux, and then, by 
the aid of some float, make his way out into the stream, and 
land upon the upper portion of the island, after which his 
action was to be dictated by circumstances. # 

He had hardly decided upon this, when he became sensible 
of a peculiar smell in the air, resembling burning wood. For 
a time, he was unable to locate it, but at last detected a faint 
smoke arising from behind a rock. The thought that there 
were Indians so near him made him exceedingly careful in 
his movements. He was standing exposed to any that 
might be in the vicinity ; but, feeling pretty positive that he 
had not been seen, he set out to discover who had kindled 
the fire. 

First assuring himself that his revolver was ready for an 



9a 



THE HUNTER'S ESCAPE. 



emergency, and holding it in bis hand so as to be ready at an 
instant's warning, he approached the rock. By going around 
either end of this, he might be brought face to face with the 
Indians, and thus make a collision unavoidable. It was 
hardly probable that any of them was star-gazing at this time 
of day, or even lying upon the ground ; he accordingly con- 
cluded to crawl stealthily along the surface, and peer down 
upon them. 

The contour of the rock favored such a proceeding, and 
he lost no time in putting it in execution. 

On his hands and knees then, one hand still grasping the 
revolver, he crawled over the rock, and, removing his hat 
from his head, he slowly shoved his forehead forward, until 
the eyes projected beyond the line of the rock. There was 
little need of this caution. The only person he saw was Matt 
Larkins, stretched fiat upon his back, sound asleep. At his 
feet a small fire was burning, or rather smoldering, for it 
was evident it had not been replenished for fully an hour. 
I\car by it was a heap of sticks, which had been collected for 
fuel, and a little further away was the whisky-keg, or rather 
that which remained of it after head and bottom were re- 
moved. The trader's limbs were outstretched, as if he had 
been flung upon the ground, and remained in the position in 
which he struck. His hat was off, and his mouth was open. 

The hunter watched him for several moments with a feel- 
ing of contempt and pity — contempt for one whose nature 
was so degraded as to engage in such a disgraceful calling, 
and pitj' for the death-bed remorse, and final damnation of 
soul he was assuredly laying up for himself. Ah ! Matt 
Larkins, there is assuredly a time coming when you shall 
bemoan your misspent life, for " what profiteth it a man if he 
gain the whole world and lose his own soul ?" 

" Though the mills of God grind slowly, 
Yet they grind exceeding small ; 
Though witti patience he stands waiting, 
With exactness grinds he all." 

While still looking clown upon the form of the trader, his 
eyes suddenly opened to their widest extent, with a wild, 
startled expression, as if he had suddenly become aware of 
some great peril impending over him. For a few seconds he 
gazed fixedly at the face looking down upon him, as if unable 



THE LAST OF THE WHISKY-TKADER. 93 

to identify it, and then the look of terror gradually faded from 
his own. 

" Why, Charnley, is that you ? How you scart me. Did 
you wake me ? Come clown here." 

" Remain where you are ; there is no occasion for my com- 
ing down." 

" How did you get away ?" 

" What was the matter contained in that paper of Wil- 
kins ?" 

" Git out ! I told you I wouldn't tell you, and I won't. If 
you'd have talked a little different I might. But say ! how in 
the name of common sense did you give them Sioux the slip ? 
I never expected to see you off there." 

" You answer no question of mine and I answer none of 
J'ours." 

" All right ! but for all that we've had quite an adventure ; 
something we can boast of to our children, eh ?" 

" If I deserted a comrade, when death was upon him, it 
strikes me I would say as little as possible about it." 

" You could have gone off with me as well as not ; I'm 
sure I didn't hinder you." 

" There is no need of talking about the matter ; we look 
differently at every thing." 

The trader had risen to his feet and now passed around the 
rock. The hunter, at the same time, took his position Upon 
the ground, and the two thus stood face to face. 

" Charnley, you're a little crusty. We're a good ways up in 
the north-west, where we've got a confounded sight more of 
enemies than of friends. Since I've lost Wilkins I was afraid 
I should have to go north into Selkirk settlement to get out of 
this scrape, and I'm a little skeery about things any way. I 
was doubting my seeing you again, but I'm mighty glad you've 
come. We can now stick together and make the trip back in 
safety, can't we, old boy ?" 

Roderick turned upon his heel without a word, and walked 
deliberately away. Since then he has never seen Matt Larkins, 
the -whisky-trader. 



&4 THE HUNTER'S ESCAPE. 



CHAPTEE IX. 

SUCCESS AND FAILURE. 

He could not rest, he could not stay 
Within his tent to wait l'or day ; 
But walked him forth along the strand, 
Where thousand sleepers strewed the sand. 

Siege of Corinth. 

The hunter had landed upon the same side with the Sioux, 
and consequently -was obliged to pass them in ascending to 
the .proper point in the river. By keeping well back from 
the shore there was no necessity of incurring any risk in doing 
so. The afternoon -was now well advanced and time was 
precious. If he tarried upon land until the savages recovered 
from their debauch the chances for obtaining the paper were 
well-nigh hopeless, for at such times the American Indian, like 
his pale-faced brother, is morose and more dangerous when 
disturbed than at other times. 

After leaving the whisky-trader, Charnley made his way as 
rapidly as possible up-stream, for he began to fear that he had 
deferred the attempt already too long. When opposite the 
island, he came down to the shore and surveyed it. The 
Sioux still lay there, in all manner of positions, like men shot 
dead while making an assault, and were apparently as lost to 
all outward things, as if the breath of life had in reality de- 
parted from their bodies. 

The contour of the shores was such that his view of both 
for a considerable distance was perfect. Casting his eye down- 
stream, he was somewhat startled to find the three Sioux were 
invisible. Their canoe could be dimly discerned, lying in 
close to the bank, but the owners had departed. 

This wore a suspicious look to the hunter. Not once, 
while he was crouching upon the island, had all of the three 
been invisible at the same time. The proverbial patienco of 
the aborigine is such as to forbid the supposition that 
they had become wearied with watching. It .seemed more 
probable that they had withdrawn from sight in the hope of 
luring their prey forth, and had divided and ascended the 



THE CRACKLE OP A TWIG. 95 

bank in order to maintain a more critical watch upon their 
movements. 

Roderick was debating the matter in his mind, when he 
caught the crackle of a twig as if made by the passage of 
some person. With a throb of alarm he turned around. 
Nothing was to be seen, yet he was positive there was some 
living thing in close proximity. His own position was such 
that he was equally certain, wherever or whatever it was, that 
he had been seen. His supposition was that one of the Indians 
had come up upon this side of the river while another had 
ascended upon the opposite side, and the third had maintained his 
original station, save that he had withdrawn further from shore. 

As it was, he felt exceedingly uneasy, knowing that he was 
a target for any stray bullet, and he came to the conclusion 
that the best thing to be done under the circumstances was to 
get out of the neighborhood as quickly as possible. Glancing 
hither and yon to ascertain the point from which the danger 
threatened, he fixed upon a short stumpy tree, as the shield of 
the Indian. It was of sufficient diameter to afford an admirable 
cover to his body, and the fact that there was a bush but a 
few feet away, satisfied the hunter that death lurked behind 
that identical tree. 

Charnley started to move away, keeping his eye fixed upon 
the tree. He had not taken three steps when he saw a black 
eye and slit of painted face slip to view, while at the same 
time a rifle-barrel was leveled straight at him and discharged. 
He was not struck, but the bullet could have come no closer 
without slaying him. 

The effect of this shot upon the hunter was to enrage him. 
No other word but rage will express his emotion when this 
deliberate attempt at taking his life was made. The first 
question he asked himself was, what reason had this Indian 
to fire at him ? He had never sought to harm him, but, on 
the contrary, had ever been the steadfast friend of the red- 
man ; and now this ungrateful dog had just done his best to 
send him out of the world. 

He jerked his revolver from his waist and rushed toward 
the tree, determined to discharge the whole five barrels into 
the body of the Sioux, when, lo ! the savage turned upon his 
heel and fled 1 



9<l THE HUNTER'S KSCATE. 

This, if possible, rendered Charnley more infuriate than 
ever, - 

" Hold on ! you cowardly dog !" he shouted. " Hold on a 
bit, and I'll give you your full of that kind of game." 

But the Indian disregarded the peremptory summons, and 
continued his flight with all his might, while the hunter pur- 
sued, firing his revolver until every barrel was emptied with- 
out inflicting a scratch. The Sioux possessed by far the most 
fleetness, and rapidly gained upon the hunter. The latter 
finding he had done no injury, caught up a large-sized stone, 
and hurled it with such skill and force that . it gave the fugi- 
tive quite a respectable thump in his back. The latter ut- 
tered a terrified yell and sprung a foot or two in the air, doubt- 
less thinking he had received his death-wound. He now went 
like the wind, nevertheless, and seeing how matters were go- 
ing, the hunter gave up the chase in disgust. 

When Charnley had time for reflection, he looked upon this 
occurrence as exceedingly dangerous — that is, dangerous in the 
eonsequences it was likely to bring upon himself. His great 
desire had been to keep the fact of his escape from the island 
from becoming known to the Sioux, so that, in carrying out 
his scheme, he should not be obliged to maneuver against 
them. Now that they had learned or would shortly learn 
that he was upon shore, it was more than probable that they 
would turn their whole attention toward capturing him, and 
thus little opportunity would be given for him to secure the 
document. 

He began to ask himself whether, after all, it would not be 
best to let the paper go, and free himself from the network of 
danger that was beginning to encompass him. If the matter 
was of much importance he would assuredly hear of it in the 
course of time. If it were only some project that had origi- 
nated in the the head of the whisky-trader, it were perhaps 
as well unknown as known. Be what it might, almost any 
person would have pronounced it foolhardy to attempt to dis- 
cover under the present aspect of circumstances. 

If he gave up the project, what should he do? Wander 
hither and thither through the wilderness, like some aimless 
adventurer ? The distaste for this, added most likely to that 
curiosity which is inherent in all our natures, decided him to 



THE DOCUMENT SECURED. 07 

make the attempt immediately, let the consequences be what 
they might. He, therefore,- resumed his ascension of the 
river, keeping well under cover as he did so, and pausing at 
intervals to assure himself that he was not followed. In this 
manner he progressed fully a quarter of a mile above the up- 
per island, at which point he decided to venture out in the 
river, and if not " cross the Rubicon," cross very nearly the 
Red river. 

The hunter being incapable of swimming, it became neces- 
sary to secure something upon which to float. This proved 
a, more difficult matter than he supposed, but he finally suc- 
ceeded, his safeguard this time being much the same as he had 
ased on the previous occasion. 

On the very point of embarking, he discerned the canoe 
iscending the stream, keeping close in to shore as if seeking 
o escape observation. He drew back and watched its rnove- 
nents with anxious interest. Nearly abreast of the island it 
leaded toward it, and a few seconds later the figures of two 
ndians could be seen moving to and fro. As they shortly 
lisappeared from view, he judged they had seated themselves 
ipon the ground by their companions. 

The afternoon was now so far advanced, that Charnley con- 
luded to defer his embarkation until nightfall. His approach 
j the island during the darkness it is obvious would be at- 
snded with far less peril than during the daytime, although 
; was by no means improbable that by that time he would 
ave the whole band of Sioux to operate against. 

It was hardly dark, when he cautiously waded out in the 
tream, as far as its depths would permit, and set out upon 
is perilous undertaking. It required great effort to make his 
^ay far enough out to land upon the upper end; but he suc- 
secled, and with a beating heart began creeping toward the 
noldering camp-fire. 

Every yard, the young man paused and looked around and 
stened. He could discern nothing suspicious, and in a few 
Loments he was within a few feet of one of the Indians. He 
rogressed now, it may be said, inch by inch, until he was di- 
:ctly among the sleepers. Then he halted, and as well as 
ie gloom would permit,, peered around. Of course he saw 
oth-ing of the body of Wilkins, but his heart gave a great 



98 the hunter's escape. 

bound, when he discerned something glistening in the dim 
light that he was sure was the precious missive for which he 
was searching. Working his way a short distance further, he 
placed his hand upon it. Ay! it was the document, thus 
strangely preserved, and Charnley clutched it with a nervous 
hand. 

He was endeavoring carefully to extricate himself from this 
network of danger, when an iron grasp was laid upon his 
shoulder and a low voice muttered : 

" How do, brudder ? Much glad to see you." 
The young hunter glanced up and saw the three Sioux 
standing behind him. 



CHAPTER X. 

CONCLUSION. 

Weave me the woof. The thread is spun. 
The web is wove. The work is done.— Ghat. 

It is said the ruling passion is strong in death. When 
Roderick was seized by the Sioux his first act was to open 
the document and attempt to read it ; but the darkness would 
not permit, and he placed it in his bosom, until a better 
opportunity should offer. 

The captors, who were the Sioux that had not partaken of 
liquor, manifested no vindictive or cruel disposition. They 
were in fact members of Father Richter's people, who were 
out hunting and who had no intention of shedding the blood 
of innocent persons. It was not they who had shot Wilkins, 
but having discovered the white men in their vicinity, they 
resolved on capturing them if possible, and we have narrated, 
at length, the efforts put forth to do so, and shown also, that 
they deserved no credit that our hero, after all, fell into their 
hands. 

Now that they had secured him, the first thing they did 
was to remove him from the island, for it would never have 
done for a white man to have fallen into the hands of those 
upon the island. They resolved to take the hunter bad: to 



THE NEW INDIAN AGENT. 99 

their own people, perhaps to hold hini awhile, and then release 
him as their whim dictated. 

It was with rather novel feelings that Roderick Charnley, 
the next morning, found himself again crossing the Clearing 
in the direction of the village. He was hopeful that they 
might pass the cabin without being discovered by the mission- 
. ary, but, at that critical moment, he came forth and greeted 
them. A few words explained all. Father Richtcr com- 
manded them to release him, and they did so without protest. 
At this juncture, it occurred to Charnley that he had not, 
yet examined the paper in his possession. He now drew it 
from his breast and opened it. It was simply his appointment 
as Indian agent. Matt Larkins and his friend had represented 
that they could the most speedily reach the young hunter, and, 
consequently, had been intrusted with its delivery from a cer- 
tain point. Their intention in doing this was to extract a 
pledge from him in regard to themselves before acquainting 
him with his appointment. Failing in this, they cared not 
whether he received the document at all. 

Charnley handed the paper to the missionary. As the lat- 
ter perused it, his face lit up -with a smile. 
" Why, how is this, Eoderick ?" 

" I do not know. I never solicited such an appointment." 
" Some of your friends then have done it for you. Come 
in the house, and let us talk of this." 

" Do you know you have treated me in rather a strange 
manner ?" said Father Richter, when they had seated them- 
selves. 

" It would have been much more strange had I remained 
with you after the rebuffs I have received at your hands." 

" When' wounded you were my guest ; when you were well 
there could be no occasion for remaining, but until then I ex- 
pected you to remain." 

"Why is it, Father Richter, that you have treated me 
thus ?" 

" Place yourself in my position, Roderick, and then ask 
whether you would not do the same." 

As has been remarked in another place, it had been the 
missionary's custom to make at long intervals a visit to the 
frontier. One of these iourneys was undertaken three years 



1°Q THE HTTNTER'S ESCAPE. 

previous, and his daughter Cora accompanied him. It was p.l 
this time that they encountered Roderick Charnley, who im- 
agined himself in love with the fair blossom of the -wilderness 
at first sight. With a foolish want of discretion, he went im- 
mediately to her father and asked permission to sue for her 
hand. Had he approached the matter in a proper way, it ij 
very probable that he would have succeeded. But the idea 
of yielding up his cherished daughter, his only companion in 
his distant home, was one that could not be entertained; 
consequently the lover received a most emphatic refusal, 
with the command never to speak to either again. When, 
therefore, the young hunter made his appearance at the Clear- 
ing, some time afterward, it was natural that Harvey Richter 
should question his motives and wish for his absence, and it 
was characteristic of the good man that he should tell him so. 

" 1 can only complain," said Charnley, in anwer to the last 
remark, " that you would not listen and hear me through. 
My position in* y^ur household has been such, that the sub- 
ject could not be referred to ; but if you would only consent 
to hear, and then, if you choose to refuse, I will havo nothing 
to say." 

" I will now listen." 

" You know then, Father Richter, that I have long enter- 
tained the hope of calling your daughter my wife. I can ap- 
preciate your feelings when you judged that by doing so you 
gave her to me to take hundreds of miles away from you, 
but on that point you are mistaken. It has always been my 
intention to settle down near you, so that you could have 
your daughter as much as ever. Now that I am Indian agent, 
I shall do so under any circumstances. You have been carry- 
ing on a good work among these people, and can not I now 
join hands with you, in my new position ?" 

" I have thought a great deal of this during the last day or 
two, and painful as it has been to me, I had resolved, that if 
my daughter's happiness demanded it, to give her to you, even 
if you left me alone, I should do so. Now, that you declare 
your purpose of remaining by me, I can offer no objection. 
It lies with you and her." 

" It is settled then, I think," smiled the hunter. 

FINISj 



BEADLE'S 

American Library] 


NO W READ Y: 


Seth Jones. 


The Slave Sculptor. 


Alice Wilde. 


Mabel Meredith. 


The Frontier Angel. 


Kent the Ranger. 


Malaeska. 


Myrtle. 


Uncle Ezekiel. 
Massasoit's Daughter. 


Mahaska. 


The Two Guards. 


Bill Biddon. 


Single Eye. 


The Backwoods' Bride. 


The Scout. 


Nat Todd. 


The Peon Prince. 


Sybil Chase. 


The King's Man. 


MoXOWANO. 


Laughing Eyes. 


The Brethren of the Coast. 


Ahmo's Plot. 


King Barnaby. 


The Hunter's Escab$B 


The Forest Spy. 


Indian Jim. 


The Far West. 


The Wreckers' PrizeJH 


The Riflemen of the Miami. 


The Brigantine. 


Alicia Newcombe. 


The Cuban Heiress. 


The Hunter's Cabin. 


The Lost Trail. 


The Block House. 


The Moose Hunter. 


The Allens. 


Joe Davies's Client. 


Esther; or the Oregon Trail 


The Indian Queen, i 


Ruth Margerie. 


The Wreck of the AlbM 


Oonomoo, the Huron. 


The Silver Bugle. 


The Gold Hunters. 


The Cave Child. 


GEORGE ROUTL] 


iDGE AND SONS, j